STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — A local family is living a nightmare after a five-year-old girl fell into the Stanislaus River and was swept away by the fast-moving current.
The sheriff’s department says Matilda Ortiz fell into the Stanislaus river Sunday afternoon. Monday, several agencies joined the search. People are looking for Matilda by boat, helicopter, and even drones.
Matilda was with her family when they say she slipped on a rock and into the water.
“Even though the ground looks dry on top it can actually be pretty wet and moist underneath and it can give way by an average human standing on top of it,” the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department Public Information Officer, Chris Vestal said.
While everyone needs to be careful near the water, but there are certain spots that are especially dangerous including the water in and around the Nimbus Hatchery, and anywhere the rivers merge.
“The American River confluence in the Forrest Hill area where different forks of the American River come together and it creates a big turbulent area,” Vestal said.
Deputies say multiple people jumped in after Matilda, including her father. The fire department says going in after someone can be dangerous. The best thing to do is to stay on land while trying to reach the person in the water.
“It’s hard to criticize a father for going in after his child, but try to make a rescue with some other long pole or some kind of branch,” Vestal said.
While rescue efforts have stopped for the night, the family is still looking and hoping. Official rescue efforts are expected to resume Tuesday at 7 a.m.