Penn Valley man dead after falling from fishing boat |

Penn Valley man dead after falling from fishing boat

An autopsy is planned for today for a 71-year-old Penn Valley man who died after falling out of a boat along the Yuba River in Browns Valley.

The Yuba County Sheriff’s Department received a call reporting a possible drowning at 1:20 p.m. Sunday from the area of the Sycamore Ranch campground and recreation site in Browns Valley, said spokeswoman Melanie Oakes.

The victim was identified as William Frederick Blythe, 71, of Penn Valley. His son reported the two men were fly-fishing from a boat downstream from Sycamore Ranch when the boat hit a log, and Blythe was thrown from the boat.

Blythe’s son was able to help him back into the boat, but he lost consciousness shortly afterwards, Oakes said.

Accessibility was an issue for the first responders, Oakes said.

A REACH helicopter was on the scene with a paramedic within 15 minutes, she said. But even with quads and four-wheel drive, sheriff’s deputies were unable to access the river at that point, she added.

Blythe was pronounced dead at about 3 p.m.

The cause of death was not clear and could have been a medical issue such as a heart attack, Oakes said.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call (530) 477-4229.

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