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Whitewater drowning victims identified; San Bernardino father and son killed

Father and son die after drowning incident

Community reacts to the death of a fathe

WHITEWATER, Calif.- - Update:

The Riverside County Sheriff's Coroner has identified the victims as 41-year-old David Martinez-Garcia of San Bernardino and his son, 7-year-old David Martinez of San Bernardino. The son died after being transported to Desert Regional Medical.

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A father who attempted to save his 7-year-old son from the current of the Whitewater River is dead, as confirmed by Cal Fire. The son was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center in critical condition. 

Emergency units from Cal Fire, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, and the California Highway Patrol are on the scene near Interstate 10 and Tipton Road.

 

 

 

 

 

The incident was reported at 1:17 p.m. 6 fire engines were on the scene. According to authorities, the father was located and brought to an island in the water, before being airlifted in a CHP helicopter. 

Cal Fire says that water can flow at speeds nearing 25 miles per hour and wants to remind the public that it is illegal to swim in the Whitewater River. Despite the dangers and drowning reports, locals say they often see people swimming and lounging by the bridge where the boy and his father were swept away. 

“Usually when we drive by there’s a lot of people out here with their lounge chairs just enjoying their time,” said Julissa Montenegro, a frequent visitor to Whitewater.  

The family's van was found near the bridge where the incident occurred. That area was temporarily closed due to the ongoing investigation. 

Authorities say this is not an isolated incident -- they see drowning incidents every year. "If you happen to be near the edge, it's very easy to get swept away. You certainly don't want children in this area," said Ashley Metzger of the Desert Water Agency.

 

Stay with us for the latest updates on this developing story. 

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Noticias en español: Telemundo 15

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