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Location: Van Duzen River
On 04-22-2012, approximately 3:15 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office received a call from a citizen reporting a female was trapped on the opposite embankment of the Van Duzen River at Swimmers Delight, Humboldt County Park, 13000 State Highway 36, Carlotta and needed to be rescued.
Humboldt County Search and Rescue deputies were dispatched to the scene with a jet boat. Deputies were able to access the trapped female by utilizing four wheel drives via Timber Company and State Park Property. The female was rescued at approximately 5:00 p.m. She was identified as Tiffany Swanson, 38 years old, from Carlotta. She was swimming in the river which was higher and colder than she thought and was swept to the other side. She was cold, but in good health and declined medical attention.
During the time of this rescue, deputies were contacted by another citizen who reported three other people were now trapped on the opposite side of the river at a different location. Two juvenile females, one 15 years old, and one 16 years old, from Arcata went swimming at Swimmers Delight and were swept down stream. An adult who was with them, a friend of the family, Dwight Wieman,
47 years old from McKinelyville jumped into the water to assist the two girls who were struggling. All three made it to the other side of the river and now needed assistance getting back. Bill Thorpe, age 41 years from Arcata was floating down the river in his raft about the time the three stranded victims needed to be saved. Deputies contacted Thorpe who agreed to assist the deputies with his raft to get the three to safety. All three were cold, but in good health.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public that as the weather heats up and they recreate at local rivers to use caution. The rivers are still high, cold and swift. Do not swim alone, alcoholic beverages and swimming do not mix. If you have small children watch them closely, they can be swept downstream quickly. Many of the river bottoms have changed over the winter months, many times there can be sudden steep drop offs near shallow areas. Have cell phones and life vests or other floatation devices available. Veteran swimmers have lost their lives in local rivers which are swift, fast and cold.