Search for drowning victim at Emerald Pools continues
A 25-year-old Elk Grove man was missing and presumed drowned at Emerald Pools off Bowman Lake Road Sunday afternoon, with the search set to continue this morning.
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.
After arriving at the scene and interviewing witnesses, it was determined he had gotten caught up in the undercurrent of the 30-foot waterfall.
Due to the lack of daylight and the ruggedness of the area, it was decided to station a team at the location for the night and come back Monday morning to search the river and pools below the 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. But Chaar’s friends and family were out looking for him nonetheless, hiking the area until about 4 p.m., said his brother, Kareem.
“We met with the Placer County dive team to see if logistically, we can get equipment in there and whether it is safe to dive that main pool,” said Nevada County Sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Pettitt Tuesday afternoon. “We had swift water rescue techs swimming it, as much as we could do on the surface.”
Bringing in a dive team in that type of river situation is problematic, Pettitt explained, especially given the terrain at Emerald Pools.
“We’re asking the CHP (helicopter) to fly the gear in,” he said. “It’s all shale and granite, it’s slick, you can’t hike down with wetsuits and gear.”
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.
“We will be out there at first light (Wednesday), for the search and, hopefully, recovery operation,” Jakobs said.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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