EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — A young man put himself in harm’s way save two strangers struggling in the fast-moving waters of the Cosumnes River, but his heroics cost him his own life.
Evan Ishima’s aunt says she misses his laughter and his smile.
“They went hiking. They didn’t have any intention of going in the water,” Evan’s aunt Jessica Stratton said.
When Evan noticed someone struggling in the water, the 6’3″ skateboarder linked arms with his friend Austin, creating a human chain, dangling down to the water’s edge to save the man below.
“Austin lost his grip of Evan and Evan fell down into the water and they never resurfaced,” Stratton said. “He did all he could to hold onto Evan but their fingers just slipped and Austin was fortunate enough to be pulled out by another bystander.”
His family later learned it wasn’t just one man in the water, but two.
“Evan was a true hero. And I know he wasn’t trying to be. He wasn’t looking for that status. He just did what he felt was right and what was in his heart,” Stratton said.
Weighing on hearts now is recovering the bodies of the three men. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says the water is still too high and too fast to safely retrieve them.
It’s a waiting game that also comes with a warning from loved ones desperate to lay this 24-year-old man to rest.
“Please stay out of the waters, stay out of the rivers. They look so calm and so peaceful on the surface, but underneath, you know, that water is very unforgiving,” Stratton said.
Evan’s family says a volunteer used equipment to locate all three men and found Evan underneath the two other victims. They believe Evan was trying to push them up to the surface.