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Man dies trying to rescue 5-year-old boy from river in Sequoia National Park

A man drowned Saturday trying to rescue a 5-year-old boy from a river in Sequoia National Park.
(Mike Theune / National Park Service)

A young man died trying to rescue a 5-year-old boy who had fallen into the Kaweah River on Saturday in Sequoia National Park, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 7:15 a.m. near the park entrance, according to a statement from the National Park Service.

After entering the park about 6:45, the boy’s family decided to walk down to the river when the boy slipped into the water, officials said.

An unidentified 22-year-old man who was with the family jumped into the river to try to save the boy and was followed by the child’s parents, officials said.

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Three bystanders assisted in getting the boy and his parents out of the water. The boy was later transported by helicopter to a hospital in Visalia, where he was being treated.

His condition was not immediately known.

The man who initially tried to rescue the boy disappeared into the water, and it took rescuers nearly two hours to retrieve his body, officials said.

It was the second river fatality within two weeks in Sequoia National Park.

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A 36-year-old man died June 10 after he was swept down the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River in the foothills of the park, prompting authorities to issue a stern warning to visitors about the dangers of fast-moving water.

In the summer, the flow of water in rivers fed by snowmelt is much faster than it appears, so visitors need to be extra careful, park officials said.

“The rocks are super slick on the river’s edge, and people should avoid getting close,” District Ranger Dave Fox said.

carlos.lozano@latimes.com

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