Live Oak father, infant son drown in pond near Biggs
A father and his infant son both drowned Saturday afternoon during a recreational outing at a pond outside Biggs.
The 53-year-old father and 2-year-old child were from Live Oak. On Sunday evening, their names still had not been released by authorities, pending notification of next of kin.
Earlier in the day, fire and rescue personnel in Butte County responded to separate call on the Feather River, where 23-year-old Kenneth Cooper of Fairfield had been carried by currents from his fishing spot on a sandbar.
Cooper was pronounced dead at Oroville Medical Center at 8:45 p.m. Saturday.
"Three casualties in two water incidents. This is the first time I've heard of something like this in my 20 years," said Sgt. Jeff Young of the Butte County Sheriff's Department on Sunday.
Young said the father-son drowning, which occurred at about 4:30 p.m., was "a freak accident."
The man and infant had been in an inflatable paddleboat at a swimming hole off Palm Avenue known to locals as "The Plunge," Young said.
Witnesses told emergency personnel that the infant was wearing a life vest when he fell into the pond — a rocky body of water that Young described as being about the size of a football field and likely no more than 15 feet deep at its center.
"It was crazy — just a small pond with no current," he said. "The dad jumped in to get him. He grabbed onto him, but was not able to get the two of them onto the boat," Young said.
A witness pulled the father to shore. Rescue personnel reached the infant shortly thereafter and attempted CPR on both.
"They were pretty much gone," Young said.
The father was pronounced dead at the scene. The infant was taken to Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
At about 1 p.m. Saturday, Cooper was fishing with his uncle farther north along the Feather River when the sandbar he was standing on gave way.
Cooper's uncle told members of a fire and rescue crew that his nephew had been under water for about 10 minutes before he was recovered.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.