YUBA CITY (CBS SF) — A California Highway Patrol helicopter crew plucked two stranded swimmers from the rapid, run-off swollen waters of the Yuba River over the weekend, authorities said.
The CHP said it got a rescue call at 12:30 p.m. Saturday to help rescue a man who had been swept down river from Emerald Pools by the swift moving water..
The crew — which had just completed the rescue of a fallen rock climber at the Donner Ski Resort — arrived on the scene and after a 30-minute search of the river located Kalani Tuiono on a small rock midstream just above a 40-50 foot waterfall.
Using a rescue basket manned by fireman Dave Fichter, the crew maneuvered into position and lowered the basket. The CHP said there was no room for error because the waterfall was so close.
Tuiono was loaded into basket and flown safely to a nearby landing zone.
After they landed, Tuiono told rescuers he had been swept down the white water for approximately one mile. He went over small falls, rocks, was submerged several times until he was able to find the lone rock in the middle of the river.
Fortunately, he only suffered minor scratches and abrasions.
A couple hours later, the CHP got another call to return to the river to rescue Tuiono’s girlfriend.
She had been searching down the canyon walls, looking for her boyfriend and fearing the worst when she became stranded on a ledge in very steep terrain.
A second CHP crew lifted her to safety.