SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — It’s a different season on the American River. Sacramento Metro Fire says they’re expecting colder water and higher flows from snowpack.
In June, we are expecting to see close to 100 degree days, meaning more people will be heading to the water.READ MORE: Dixon Man Identified As Suspect Who Led Chase Through 4 Counties
Sacramento Metro Fire is training for the long hot summer ahead, and we jumped in with them to see what it’s like to be rescued from the American River.
“Your body feels it as soon as you jump in,” said Chris Vestal with Metro Fire. “In combination with the speed of the water, and this water is only 58 degrees Wednesday, you’re going to become a weaker swimmer no matter how good you are.”
We suited up with Chris Vestal with Metro Fire and headed out on the water. The experience allowed CBS13 to see what hundreds of people who will be rescued this summer go through, and how Metro Fire plans to save their lives.
“The boats approaching they are looking at her, they’re trying to get an idea of how to approach her,” Vestal said.READ MORE: Modesto's Vintage Faire Mall Seeks Help Gathering Gifts For Kids
In minutes the crew is on the way. It’s a two man job for every rescue. But not everyone is as lucky, Vestal says about 20 people die every summer on the water. Crews could rescue up to six people an hour on a busy weekend.
“Most of our rescues are those from people that are not wearing a life jacket or life-vest and they can’t get to somebody else who can pull them out,” Vestal said.
He says cold water, hot temperatures, alcohol, and no life vest are a deadly combination that he sees too often.
“Exposure can lead to impaired judgment, whether that’s an exposure to alcohol or anything else,” Vestal said.MORE NEWS: CHP: Man Shot On I-5 After Reports Of Road Rage Incident In Sacramento
This year the water is moving at a faster rate and at a higher rate than it would normally be at this time of year because of the snow pack that we had. Vestal says that means higher flows and colder water.