An adult male camper at Caswell State Memorial Park trying to go after a wayward ball that went in the Stanislaus River got swept down the river Monday evening.
Some 30 minutes passed after the Ripon Fire Department arrived with its water rescue unit before a boat crew radioed that they had the man in their boat and were returning to the command post along the river where his wife was anxiously waiting.
The man had become entangled downstream in a tree on the Stanislaus County side of the river. He was not injured.
Authorities say it is very unusual for a man to be in the frigid river water and survive because of its low temperatures and rapid water flow.
There had been a full call back of paid reserve firefighters. Stanislaus County’s Salida station had also responded to the scene to be of help in the search as the sun was setting.
It is the latest in a series of recent water rescues on the Stanislaus River that is flowing significantly higher, faster, and colder this summer due to the near record Sierra snowpack that is still melting.
Emergency officials expect the Stanislaus and other rivers to be more treacherous than usual until the end of July.
The Sierra runoff recorded its 11th drowning Sunday when a woman drowned in Sequoia National Park.
One of those 11 drownings was on the Stanislaus River when a man drowned last month near Knights Ferry.