Dramatic rescue in Kern River

Dramatic rescue in Kern River »Play Video
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — A day of fishing and relaxing on a hot day almost turned deadly for a family visiting the Kern River on Friday.

Andrew Gutierrez, 25, of Palmdale, Larry Yadao, 53, of Inyo-Kern,,and Anthony Garcia, of Lancaster, were fishing at the river. They decided to cool off in the river as the temperature reached 106.

Gutierrez slipped and got swept away in the strong current. Yadao tried to grab him, and he also wound up being taken away. That's when Garcia said he ran to his vehicle and grabbed a rope. He managed to reach the pair who were stuck on rocks.

"I didn't care about myself, just about my kids, you know," said Garcia.

Members of the Kern County Fire Department arrived and managed to get a vest to the pair. Gutierrez was pulled to safety, but Yadao was more problematic.

Wedged on a rock, he held on for more than two hours as 40,000 pounds of pressure hit his body from behind. Yadao was tiring, and it showed.

But he had a vest and a rope. Attached to it were members of a search-and-rescue team.

A boat was finally lowered and positioned as near as possible to Yadao as the search-and-rescue team made its way to reach him. They gave hand signals telling Yadao to stay put. At the precise moment, rescuer Lenny Perez reached out his hand to Yadao.

Yadao lunged toward his rescuers but the unrelenting rushing water made it difficult to catch him. Then his rope which was securing Yadao pulled free and the vest began to slide off.

Somehow, Perez and the boat captain managed to grab, hold on and pull in the 53-year-old man.