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17-Year-old Drowns in the Tule River’s ‘Stairs’



Photo of the Tule River's "stairs" above Springville during snowmelt
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“The Stairs” above Springville are beautiful — and deadly — this time of year with the Sierra snowmelt filling the Tule River.

On Sunday afternoon, Juan Hernandez, 17, of Los Angeles, was swept up in the river’s rapids for about 20 minutes before bystanders pulled him out.

Hernandez was taken to Sierra View Hospital, where he was declared dead, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.

For Sheila Edes, the drowning brought back painful memories. Her 16-year-old son, Michael, went into the river on Mother’s Day last year, and his body wasn’t recovered until late June.

“I’m so very sorry for this family. I know that pain and wish to God nobody else had to feel that loss.” Edes said in a Facebook post.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux offered this advice in a Facebook post: The water may seem enticing, but it can be incredibly dangerous. NEVER enter ‘white water.’ And always wear a life jacket.”

Fresno Man Drowns Near Angel Falls

Also on Sunday, a man drowned after falling into a swift-moving creek near Bass Lake.

Marcos Moreno, 30, of Fresno was trying to cross Willow Creek Trail, above Angel Falls, when he was swept by the frigid and fast-moving water, said Sarah Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.

“Can’t emphasize enough how cold, fast and potentially dangerous all areas of swift water are at this time of year. Please stay away from the water’s edge,” said Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney.