Water rescue by Forestville Fire

Forestville Fire crews responded to a water rescue at Mother's Beach.

River denizens are in mourning over the death of 13-year-old Diego Rivas, who disappeared on Wednesday night, May 27, while swimming in the river. Rivas was last seen swimming in the river at 10:30 p.m. in the area of Canyon 1 Road in Rio Nido.


Diego Rivas

The Sheriff’s Department sent out a Nixle alert for a missing child at 12:17 a.m. on May 28. Over the next day, a massive search and rescue effort ensued, with searchers combing the area and the river near where Rivas’ clothes and phone were found. The Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue dive team found Rivas’ body on Thursday, May 28, in the afternoon.

That same day Rivas was found, another young man, 25-year-old Juan De Luna Romo of Valley Ford, waded into shallow water at Mother’s Beach in Forestville, but as the water became deeper he was unable to swim and went under.

Lindann McPheeters said on Facebook that he was at the beach with friends when it happened. 

“I was there with my friends. We were paddle boarding and came upon the group needing help. Quite a few of us looked for the young man and finally got some goggles. A young woman put them on and she was able to find him and pulled him up.”

Rescue crews arrived just as he was found.

“Our crews along with assistance from CAL FIRE, Bells Ambulance and Sonoma County Regional Parks waded into the water, placed him on a board and immediately started CPR. California Highway Patrol Helicopter H30 transferred the patient to the hospital,” the Forestville Fire Protection District wrote in a statement. 

Sonoma West received word several days later that Mr. De Luna Romo did not survive. 

Donations to Rivas’ family may be made to the Russianriveralliance.org. Just send a note to jen@russianriveralliance.org and tell her that you’d like your donation to be given to his family.

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