RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) – Tragedy struck twice for a local family that is now grieving the second loss of a son who drowned.
“Then he said ‘bye’ and that was the last time that I spoke to him,” said Poliana Liu.READ MORE: Bus Driver Shortages Continue At Sacramento-Area School Districts
Poliana is grieving the passing of her youngest brother, 17-year-old Melino Liu, a senior at Grant High School. He died after drowning in the American River over the weekend.
Poliana says a similar tragedy struck her family six years ago when she lost her brother Paul.
“Our other brother drowned back in 2016 and this was near the Rainbow Bridg…this past Saturday is when Melino drowned as well,” she said.
Captain Brian Gonsalves with the Sacramento Metro Fire Department says the water is deceptively low. In addition, branches, trees, and debris that have been underwater for years are now surfacing, which swimmers can get caught in.
The levels are also impacting rescue operations.
“It’s so shallow that we are having a hard time putting in our water rescue boats,” he said.READ MORE: Downtown Sacramento Prepares For Ironman California
Josh West has been swimming in the river for years.
“There’s a lot of underestimation that occurs, and when there is lower water, sometimes it’s the debris,” he said.
“People…would know him as a gentle giant,” Poliana said.
As for Melino’s family, they are now planning his funeral instead of a high school graduation celebration.
Poliana says she will be accepting his diploma in her brother’s honor.
“He had plans after high school he wanted to join the military,” she said.MORE NEWS: San Joaquin County Politician Speaks Out In Support Of In-N-Out's Refusal To Check Vaccine Cards At 2 Bay Area Locations
Poliana says she will be accepting her brother’s diploma on June 1. She says she’ll miss Molino making breakfast for her and her mother every morning.