Multiple search and rescues in Madera County foothills |

MADEIRA COUNTY— The Madera County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) reports that shortly before 11:30 a.m. on June 19, 2024, its communications center received an emergency call reporting a woman unresponsive in the water near Angel Falls. Search and rescue teams, along with USFS, Madera County Fire & CALFire, Sierra Ambulance and the CHP H-40 helicopter, responded to the area. During the operation, SAR officers located items which led them to believe an adult male may also be missing. Search efforts to confirm and locate it were then launched.

The female was recovered from the water, and she was confirmed dead at the scene. During recovery efforts, a male was also recovered from the water. Their identities are being withheld pending notification of next of kin. MCSO can confirm they were both Madera County locals.

While the rescue operation was underway in Angel Falls, another search and rescue call for medical assistance came in. Around 12:15 p.m., MCSO received a report of a woman with a possible broken leg in Lewis Creek. SAR teams were deployed to the area and located an adult female with non-life-threatening injuries. The patient had slipped and twisted her ankle while hiking. Team members loaded her into a Stokes litter and a spare tire, then walked to a waiting Pistoresi ambulance which transported her to a local hospital.

Sheriff Tyson Pogue.

Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue says, “Our hearts go out to the families of those who went missing in Angel Falls today. We would like to thank our allied partners for their exceptional support and response to today's events, the simultaneous occurrence of which has placed a strain on resources. I applaud the efforts of the rescue and recovery teams, who carried out their tasks diligently and respectfully.

He went on to say, “We love our community members and those who come to Madera County to enjoy one of the most beautiful places on earth. We want them to be safe, enjoy our landscape and be able to come back and visit us.

MCSO has these reminders for people recreating in the area. With places like Angel Falls close to parking lots and trails, hikers often have a false sense of security about the level of danger that exists. When hiking near water, extra precautions should be taken. Rocks can be extremely slippery even when not wet. A missed step can result in serious injury or even death.

The water is extremely fast and extremely cold. Hot air temperatures do not mean hot water temperatures. Cold water can draw heat away from the body very quickly and cause loss of limb movement. When heading into rivers and streams, always take precautions such as wearing a life jacket, bringing a life jacket with you, and obeying all river or stream closures.

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