One of four men who tried to swim across the American River near Hagan Community Park on Saturday apparently drowned, officials said today.
The Sacramento County coroner's office reported that Michael Emerson Berry, 23, died at 4:31 p.m. Saturday. It listed his cause of death as accidental.
According to witnesses, Berry failed to cross the river and was pulled under the water by the current. "I tried to swim and catch him and he went under," Chris Crotte, the victim's friend, told CBS13. He identified his friend as Michael Berry, the TV station reported.
Walter White, assistant chief of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District, said that the department had received a call at 4:30 p.m. Saturday of a possible drowning in the area.
White said today that the victim was not weaing a life jacket when he was found.
"Every year people overestimate their swimming abilities and underestimate the power of the river," he said. "The current can be strong and cold. Additionally the distance can be deceivingly long.
"Many people don't realize that the river can be as wide as a couple of Olympic-sized swimming pools," he said. "All it takes is a cramp or fatigue and someone can find themselves struggling to stay afloat. Nine of ten drownings could have been prevented by wearing a life vest."