Drowning victim recovered from Emerald Pools
Dive teams from Nevada and Placer counties have recovered the body of a 25-year-old Elk Grove man who was presumed drowned at Emerald Pools off Bowman Lake Road.
On Sunday, Omar Chaar was at the popular — but dangerous — swimming hole on the South Fork of the Yuba River where thrill-seekers jump, flip and cannonball from cliffs into the water or slide down a waterfall.
Chaar was at the river swimming with friends, said family friend Alejandra Sanchez; he reportedly slid down the waterfall into a large pool at about 1 p.m., but never resurfaced.
Nevada County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers were called out, as was the county’s dive team, to look for Chaar.
They were not able to locate him, and it was determined he had gotten caught up in the undercurrent of the 30-foot waterfall.
Two rescue swimmers and a ropes team searched the river and pools without success Monday.
On Tuesday, the official search was temporarily suspended while Nevada County sought to coordinate with Placer County’s dive team.
Sgt. Bob Jakobs, the head of Nevada County’s dive team, said he took the Placer County team to survey the site Tuesday in order to determine what they would need as far as equipment and divers.
The teams were out “at first light” Wednesday and recovered Chaar’s body at about 10:40 a.m., Jakobs said, adding that the CHP helicopter would transport him out.
Nevada County and Placer County worked jointly to recover the body that is presumed to be Chaar, finding him directly below the waterfall in approximately 30 feet of water.
Jakobs noted that even though the river flow currently is only about 8 cubic feet per second, sliding down the waterfall remains “extremely” dangerous.
“The problem is, (at the waterfall) you funnel it down and you add a vertical drop, plus there is an alcove that causes a lot of turbulent water,” he said. “It would be very easy to get stuck underwater.”
And, even though the river level fluctuates, the temperature of the water is also a danger.
“A low river can give people a false sense of security,” Jakobs said. “That water is extremely cold. At Emerald Pools, it’s coming directly from the bottom of the Lake Spaulding dam.”
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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