Rescuers searching for distressed swimmer in American River, officials say

Local authorities are searching for a swimmer who was swept into the American River in Placer County Tuesday evening, officials said.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office received a report just after 5 p.m. of a man hanging onto a tree and yelling for help near the confluence of the middle and north forks of the river, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Angela Musallam.

He apparently lost his grip and a deputy at the scene spotted him being swept down the river near the Highway 49 bridge, Musallam said in a Facebook video. The deputy then lost sight of the man.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Department, Cal Fire, a dive team and a helicopter are all looking for the man, according to authorities.

The force of the water at the confluence of the two forks of the American River is strong enough to “move a fully loaded school bus in park,” Musullam said.

She encouraged people to stay away from the river, citing its dangerous speed and cold temperature.

“Water is so deceiving,” Musullam said. “It may look calm in one area. But in reality, you can get towed under so quickly.”

This is a developing story.

Meghan Bobrowsky, from Scripps College, is a local news reporter for The Sacramento Bee, focusing on breaking news and school funding. She grew up in nearby Davis.