SACRAMENTO, CA - A man drowned while attempting to swim across the American River Tuesday afternoon.
Sacramento City Fire crews, DART and Yolo County Marine Patrols searched off of 1800 Northgate Boulevard at Highway 160, just north of downtown Sacramento, Sacramento City Fire Union spokesperson Tod Filbrun said.
The 53-year-old Sacramento resident attempted to swim across the river, but then had trouble.
"There was actually a floatie out there. It floated down the river from wherever it came from. He swam out to get it. And as he swam out to get it, he got really tired. By the time he got to it, he went under and started calling for help," witness John Tompson said.
A bystander saw the man and jumped in to help him to safety. However, the bystander gave up when he couldn't reach the swimmer, Sacramento City Fire Assistant Chief Niko King said.
"The guy that was drowning was actually pulling down the guy that was trying to save him," Tompson said.
Tompson said then he tried to help look for the man who went under.
"I jumped in the water. Swam out to him. By the time I was in arms reach of him, he just sank like a rock," Tompson said.
Crews set up a search grid and found the swimmer after he was in the river for 50 minutes. The man drowned in 8 to 10 feet of water, rescue crews said.
"This water is incredibly cold," King said. "It looks incredibly inviting. Every single year we come out for people who get themselves in trouble."
Sacramento City Fire department said the man who drowned has not been identified.
The last drowning along the American River happened Saturday near River Bend Park when the man fell from a raft and got caught in some trees