A 47-year-old Bay Area woman drowned Sunday as she tried to save three children from a rip current and was pulled under herself, according to ABC 7.
The woman, identified as Aarti Senthilvel of Pleasanton, was taking pictures of family members at Cowell Ranch State Beach when an undertow swept three of the kids into the ocean, San Mateo Sheriff's Detective Rosemerry Blankswade told NBC. Blankswade said Senthilvel went into the water to try to save the children but drowned.
Senthilvel saved one of the children, while family members helped her save the other two, Blankswade told The Associated Press.
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California State Parks responders pulled Senthilvel from the water but couldn't revive her, The Associated Press reported.
Cowell Ranch State Beach is about three miles south of Half Moon Bay.
Senthilvel's brother-in-law, who was not identified, told KTVU that she "was a very cautious person" who didn't go out too far into the water in the first place because she couldn't swim well.
Senthilvel was a regular substitute lunch supervisor in the Pleasanton Unified School District, district spokesman Patrick Gannon told the TV station.
"Our hearts go out to the family affected by this tragic incident," the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. "Please be careful when visiting any beaches along the coast as rogue waves and rip currents can happen almost anywhere."
Four-year-old Emily Lopez of Fresno was swept away in the river in Mendota with her father, 33-year-old Alejandro Valencia. Valencia and his daughter were with family members when Emily and three other children ran out to a sandbar in shallow water, the Fresno County Coroner’s office said.
As they played, the current took the children downstream. Adults jumped in and were able to pull three of the children out of the water. Valencia grabbed his daughter, but the two went underwater and didn't resurface.
Divers with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Dive Team found the bodies of the father and daughter at the bottom of the river, about 50 feet from the sandbar.
No one in the group knew how to swim, the coroner’s office said.
Fresno Bee writer Barbara Anderson contributed to this report.