UPDATE, JUNE 27, 2:09 P.M.: The body of Minh Tu Quang Nguyen was recovered by a swiftwater rescue team on Saturday afternoon. The Westminster man, who simply went by “Tu,” was pinned to a tree along the upper Kern River, about five to six miles downstream from the point where his raft flipped on June 13. His brothers and friends, who have been searching the area for more than a week, witnessed the recovery.
Rescuers discovered his body while looking for another missing person, a 53-year-old man from Palmdale, who was also found deceased that day.
Deputies are still searching for Scott Neacato of Los Angeles, who was swept into the river with Nguyen. OC's G.I. Joe Search & Rescue is once again planning to assist with the search this Saturday.
ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 23, 2:46 P.M.: Tulare County officials, along with volunteer rescuers, are searching for two young men who fell into Central California's Kern River on June 13.
Twenty-five-year-old Minh Tu Quang Nguyen of Westminster and 22-year-old Scott Neacato of Los Angeles were on a graduation camping trip when they attempted to cross a river on a two-man raft tied to a line. According to a county sheriff's report, turbulence flipped the vessel, sweeping both men down the river, just 200 yards above aggressive Class IV and Class V rapids.
Neither of them were wearing life jackets, and family and friends told officials that Neacato does not know how to swim.
Friends called 911 at about 6:40 p.m. after the incident occurred, and deputies and the U.S. Forest Service searched the scene until the sun went down, resuming the next morning with helicopters and a diving rescue team.
A OC-based volunteer group, G.I. Joe Search & Rescue, will be heading up to Kern River on Saturday morning to assist with the search. Physically fit individuals who are interested in joining the team can contact GIJ4.firstname.lastname@example.org for details. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the men should call the Tulare County Sheriff at (559) 733-6233.
The Kern River is at its highest level in years, and emergency responders warn that even calm water can be deceptively dangerous.