Sonora, CA — The still missing victim from an overturned canoe in the Tuolumne River has been identified by the Sheriff´s Department as a 12 year old female from Concord, CA , not seven years old as originally reported.
Lt. Dan Bressler reports that at 3:20 Monday afternoon, 32 year old Paul Little Eagle Padilla of Antioch, CA entered the Tuolumne River with two of his own children, a six year old boy and a 12 year old girl along with the missing victim, in a 16 foot canoe near the bridge at Cherry Lake Rd. at the early intake powerstation.
The swift current subsequently took the canoe out from the shore where it overturned. Padilla and his two children made it to shore … the victim did not and remains missing at this hour.
According to Bressler and Deputy Dan Crow of the Tuolumne County Search and Rescue Team, the river at this location is extremely hazardous even for expert rafters. The water is approximately 54 degrees and is reported to be flowing at approximately 2,000 cubic feet per second. Medics have stated that hypothermia can set in in only five minutes and in 12 minutes severe hypothermia would set in which could be fatal.
The water level was being lowered Monday evening to make the river more accessible for search and rescue operations. It was hoped the river could be lowered by several feet by Tuesday morning to make the shorelines more accessible for the rescue units. A trail cutting crew will be cutting a trail along the shoreline to assist rescuers.
The search will resume at first light Tuesday morning. The missing girl´s mother, who resides in Antioch, has been notified and was scheduled to arrive in Sonora as soon as possible.
Written by Bill Johnson