Marysville man is first drowning of year in South Yuba |

Marysville man is first drowning of year in South Yuba

A young man who had just moved to the Marysville area to work drowned in the South Yuba River at Bridgeport this past weekend, the first victim of the river this year.

Luis Tobon Jr., 23, was downstream from the covered bridge at Bridgeport with his cousin, Gilbert Sotoo, according to Shawn McClain of the North San Juan Fire Department. Tobon had just moved to Sotoo’s home from Mexico to be a field laborer, according to Deputy Coroner Cathy Valeschini.

Sotoo swam across the river to speak to a friend about 4:10 p.m. Saturday and when he turned around to see Tobon, he was missing, Valeschini said. Another person at the scene then yelled out that Tobon was in the water.

Sotoo managed to find his cousin, but McClain said those at the scene determined he was submerged about four minutes.

“He couldn’t revive him,” Valeschini said, and an air ambulance was dispatched.

The nurse in the air ambulance determined Tobon was dead and the body was flown in to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Pat Brazil of Rocklin managed to shield his young sons from the scene, “but it was traumatic for the boys,” he said. “I saw a crowd of about 50 people around the man and three people were doing CPR on him and the Life Flight was circling around to land.”

On the 4th of July, Adolfo Juarez of Marysville was pulled from the river about one mile upstream from the covered bridge. Nathan and Erica Allen of Grass Valley were at the scene and managed to bring Juarez back to live with CPR.

Last year a young Reno man drowned on the river near the town of Washington and on Memorial Day 2007, a woman in distress was pulled from the Yuba River at the Highway 40 bridge by her friends.

In 2006, three young men drowned in the South Yuba River.

One person drowned in the cold and swift waters three years ago and four died in 2004.

Even when the river is relatively calm, its steep descent and chilly temperatures can be deadly to swimmers who often hit their heads on rocks or get caught in rocks or river debris underwater.

Local search and rescue personnel have long-advised Yuba River swimmers to always be with others when in the water and to stay in shallow pools that are not moving swiftly.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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