Second Fatality this Month at Popular South Yuba River, CA Swimming Hole

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Rescuers at the scene. Credit: Elias Funez/

A male who died swimming in the South Yuba River, California has been identified as Mario Benassi, 23, of Colfax. Benassi died Tuesday afternoon in the South Yuba River, near the Highway 49 bridge. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday, said Mike Sullivan, chief deputy coroner.

“He was swimming with friends,” Sullivan said. “It appears that he got stuck in the rocks.”

Authorities responded to where Highway 49 crosses the river after someone called about the male getting caught underwater between rocks. A group of people were upstream of the bridge when the deceased became stuck underwater for around 10-minutes, the sheriff said. A California Highway Patrol helicopter helped recover the victim from the river.

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A popular spot for swimming, the HWY 49 crossing of the South Yuba River. Credit: Pinterest

The Tuesday death is the second reported this month at the river. Christian Cotter, 23, of Elk Grove, died June 5 after his ankle became stuck between rocks. First-responders pulled his body from the river, about a half-mile downstream of the Highway 49 bridge, authorities said.

On May 18, a woman was saved after three people pulled her from the river. An eyewitness said she spotted the woman floating down-river near the bridge and jumped in to save her. Two others assisted, with one of them providing CPR.

Authorities have warned people about swift currents. They say water can push people against rocks, making it difficult to escape.

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One thought on “Second Fatality this Month at Popular South Yuba River, CA Swimming Hole

  1. the American River near Auburn is particularly hazardous where the water level changes suddenly when the dam upriver alters flow causing conditions to change causing people to drown. expanding the heads-up.

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