Gridley man drowns during 21st birthday celebration

May 26, 2015 4:06 PM by News Staff

Officials say the Gridley man who drowned Monday evening at the Oroville Wildlife Area was celebrating his 21st birthday with family and friends.

According to the California Highway Patrol, just before 6 p.m. Austin Harr was pulled out of the water unresponsive after being submerged for more than 30 minutes.

Witnesses told police that Harr was attempting to swim across the pond while holding a sizeable rock, estimated at 10 pounds, before he went under and did not reemerge.

Several people attempted to try and locate Harr, but the water was murky. Several agencies were on scene and a helicopter was called to help. Eventually the Butte County Sheriff's Office used new sonar equipment to find Harr.

Harr was transported to Orchard Hospital in Gridley, where he was pronounced dead at 6:46 p.m.

A California Highway Patrol investigation is ongoing and officials say alcohol is believed to have played a role.


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