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Rafter almost drowned near Sundial Bridge in Redding

The woman rescued from the Sacramento River on the 4th of July is still in critical condition at a local hospital. Here is what happened.

Posted: Jul 4, 2019 1:10 PM
Updated: Jul 5, 2019 12:12 PM

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 5, 2019 - More details have been provided about the near drowning incident on the Sacramento River near the Sundial Bridge that occurred on Thursday, July 4, 2019.

According to the Shasta County Sheriff's Office four people were involved in the incident that started when they entered the river at the Caldwell Park boat ramp -- four people on three pool/lake inflatables that had been tied together.

The ACID diversion dam was downstream but the four Redding residents were not aware of it. Though the four tried to swim to the shore the current was strong and they swiftly headed downstream towards the diversion dam. The group did not have paddles or life vests with them.

Sheriff's Office officials said 27-year-old Miranda Steiger was able to grab onto the diversion dam walkway and pull herself to safety. However, 27-year-old Jeff Shea, 24-year-old Kaelin Dietrich and the unidentified victim that was rescued downstream all went through the pillars of the diversion dam and into the white water hydraulicing on the downstream side.

Shea and Dietrich were then able to escape from the white water and get to the north shoreline. The victim went under the water and was pushed out downstream from the diversion dam.

Responders to the incident included the Shasta County Sheriff's Office Boating Unit, the Redding Police Department, the Redding Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol Air Ops and medical responders.

Redding Police Officer James Stark responded to the call by riding his motorcycle to the north side of the Sundial Bridge. He saw the victim floating face down approximately 60 feet away from the river bank. The officer entered the 50 degree water and grabbed her. He swam back to the north shoreline and after a quick assessment realized she was completely unresponsive. Officer Stark start CPR, and when the victim showed signs of life she was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and was in critical condition.

The Shasta County Sheriff's Office issued a press release stating that they are not identifying the victim at this time due to the severity of her medical condition. They are in the process of notifying her next of kin.

The Sheriff's Office Boating Safety Unit issued a reminder after the incident to make sure those who enter the river make themselves aware of potential hazards, including the ACID diversion dam, tree snags, strainers and swift currents.

Close to 11,000 cfs of water is coming down the Sacramento River from Keswick Dam and the temperature of the water is a cold 48-52 degrees.

One of the most important safety measures according to the Sheriff's Office is to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times while recreating on the water, whether on a lake, a river or a fast flowing stream.

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UPDATE 1:15 p.m. Thursday, July 4, 2019 - Our reporter has confirmed that the woman was retrieved from the water just a little bit upstream of the Sundial Bridge at the salmon ladder.

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REDDING, Calif. - We have a reporter investigating a situation near the Sundial Bridge in Redding.

Reporter Spencer Joseph said a woman fell off of a raft into the Sacramento River on Thursday at approximately 12:30 p.m.. 

An officer with the Redding Police Department spotted the woman in the river after she fell out of the raft.  She was rescued and medical personnel provided CPR.

She was wearing a breathing apparatus when she was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

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