Citrus Heights man swept down South Yuba River; search scaled back |

Citrus Heights man swept down South Yuba River; search scaled back

Thousands of people visit the South Yuba River each year. One of them, 34-year-old Alexander Alvarez, was swept down river by the current on Saturday. He remained missing Monday, Nevada County authorities said.
Elias Funez/

A couple of visitors to the South River Yuba tried to save Alexander Alvarez as the current swept him away, authorities said.

The river caught Alvarez, 34, of Citrus Heights, and his 12-year-old daughter around 6:40 p.m. Saturday between the old and new Highway 49 bridges. Two people — one of them a State Parks ranger — rescued the girl. Two others tried to reach Alvarez but couldn’t, Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kress said.

“Once you get swept into the rapids, there’s little anyone can do,” he added. “You’re at the mercy of the river.”

Volunteers with the county’s Search and Rescue team responded to the area, searching Saturday night and Sunday. The search, which continues, has since been scaled back. Alvarez remained missing Monday, Kress said.

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“Once you get swept into the rapids, there’s little anyone can do. You’re at the mercy of the river.”— Nevada County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Kress

“It is not probable he survived this incident,” the sergeant said.

The river flowed at 400 cubic feet per second on Saturday. Kress said safe areas exist on the river during this time. Rapids, the spot where Alvarez disappeared, are dangerous.

According to Kress, witnesses saw the river carry Alvarez about 400 yards downstream. Then he went under and didn’t resurface.

Around 30 volunteers searched for Alvarez. The California Highway Patrol used a helicopter to aid in the search, Kress said.

Chief Ranger Matt Green, with the Sierra District of California State Parks, said rangers give people advice on the river. Some listen. Others ignore it.

One person was told that someone had been swept down river. That person then got in the water at that spot, Green said.

“Some people are going to ignore it altogether,” Green said of the advice. “That’s not all of them. Hopefully, they’ll listen to it.”

Two people have died of drowning this year on the South Yuba River. Sean Manchester, 42, of Nevada City, died in February. Dalton Burgos, 23, of Vacaville, died last month.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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