[Update 3:36 p.m.] Rescuers Responding to Holmes Flat for Possible Drowning

Emergency personnel are responding to the report of a possible drowning at the low bridge across Eel River near Holmes Flat at approximately 2 p.m.

The hot temperatures have brought swimmers out to area rivers and swimming holes are reportedly packed. The river is relatively high and swift.

UPDATE 2:11 p.m.: Access from Tierney Road, according to scanner traffic.

UPDATE 2:13 p.m.: “Patient is still in the water,” reports the Incident Commander. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is en route with a boat.

Update 2:14 p.m.: A 61-year-old male (according to family, he was in his thirties) who has been in the water 25 minutes about 10 feet from shore, according to an update on the scanner.

UPDATE 2:31 p.m.: The victim can’t be located. The rescuers have now requested a helicopter from the Coast Guard to fly the river looking for him.

UPDATE 2:39 p.m.: The Incident Commander is reporting now that it is approaching 60 minutes since the victim was last seen.

UPDATE 2:49 p.m.: A helicopter is being dispatched from Kneeland.

UPDATE 2:54 p.m.: Cal Fire helicopter #102 is the one being dispatched.

UPDATE 3:21 p.m.: The helicopter is now searching the area. Photo from a resident.

heli searching for drowning victim
UPDATE 3:24 p.m.: “The victim has been located by copter,” reports the Incident Commander.

UPDATE 3:36 p.m.: The coroner has been requested.

UPDATE Monday: Press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office: See also this story, Local Man Dies Heroically Trying to Save Kids.

On Sunday, June 5, 2016, at about 1:40 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a possible drowning in the Eel River near the Holmes Flat area. Deputies responded to the area along with Cal Fire, Redcrest Volunteer Fire Department, Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue, HCSO Special Services, and a Cal Fire helicopter. At the time of the report it was stated Timothy Hatten, 33, of Fortuna, had been underwater for approximately twenty-five minutes. Special Services Deputies were eventually able to locate and recover Hatten’s body approximately two hours later. Hatten’s body was later turned over to the Coroner’s Office.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public of the dangers of swimming in rivers in Humboldt County. River currents can change quickly, sometimes daily, or even by the minute. This combined with unknown and quickly changing depths of the river can be deadly. Very hot and humid days combined with low water temperatures in late spring and early fall can lead to quick cramps. Every year, Humboldt County experiences a tragic death due to swimming in the rivers and falling victim to a strong current.



  • Sad news prayers for the man’s family.

  • 🙁

  • So sad.bad time to be in the waters.prayers to the family’s.

  • I lived in Holmes as a child and know the river area by the bluffs is VERY deep…it is deceiving and dangerous…I am so sorry for the family. Prayers.

    • This was just up river from us, the helicopter was flying up and down the river by our house, the river has really changed this year, deeper , narrow, channels, and the flow seems a little higher than normal this time of year,, the wAter is absolutely beautiful, but the currents are a lot faster than they look,, sad this happened, right in our back yard, feeling so hopeless, wish there was something we could have done, sorry to the families that lost there loved one!!

      • Same haircut different decade

        Shoot I remember just in 2009 my dog got swept up in a June rain ..river was still high. But yes, the underbelly changes every year and the rocks are pushed around on top of the bed. Can be very decieving
        . I always take a stick cuz even if I think it is the same is may not be as years past. The eel is alive.

      • He saved my boys a true hero

  • This is a little confusing. They know his age. Someone was there looking at him when he was 10 feet off the shore for 25 minutes. I wonder why they didn’t grab him. And now they can’t find him. Poor guy.

    • Information coming in on the scanner is often incomplete.

      My guess (don’t take this as gospel but my guess) is that the place the man was last seen was 10 feet off shore. The swift current there carried him away so he couldn’t be grabbed. Then they did find him with the helicopter. His body has been removed from the river.

      • How do I contact KYM for info I have on the drowning Sunday ?

      • Thank you all for your prayers in our time of need. That mans name was Timothy Hatten who was 33 not 61 and he was my baby brother. His other older sister and I would like to know if anyone knows if the children that my brother gave his life for lived or not? So if anyone knows please post it so can know. Were very lost,empty, and numb still. However even in our sad and bad time in our lives we all want to know how the children are. Thank You

        • The children were saved. Please pass on to your family my deepest sympathy. I will get you the answers as fast as I can about what happened. I will be posting a story about Tim’s heroic actions this morning as soon as I can get it written.

          • Thank you we would like that. His other sister and I needed to know that our brothers death wasnt in vain. When we heard that our brother had died saving those children we both were we’ll did they live. So thank you any info is very helpful

        • Hi do you know where Pearl’s at? I’m there cousin.

    • Besides that every emergency class I’ve ever taken tells you NOT to try to grab the victim so they aren’t looking for two victims.

    • My 12yr old he saved was not three feet away but currents wouldnt let him help he did stuggle but nothing could have been done so sad glad my boys r safe timmy is our hero im at a loss for words

    • They found him 10feet from where he started to drown the water pulled him under an his 18year old step son was going to save him but he told him to go get the other kid

  • He was a hero saving kids

  • Yes this was my bother in-law he jumped after two kids Timmy hatten a hero

  • Use to swim down there all the time as a kid. Sad news.

  • Pingback: Fortuna Man Dies Heroically Trying to Save Kids – Redheaded Blackbelt

  • We are so sorry, Oasis of Hope Children family is praying for the family and friends for the loss!

  • We are very sorry for the loss, Oasis of Hope Children family is praying for you and your family

  • margaret johnson

    Timmy will never be forgotten. He will be missed.

  • Timmy is my cousin, yes he struggled growing up was a bad boy for a while, but then he grew up to become a wonderful son, brother,husband, father. I love him and will miss him so. Rest in peace my cousin Timmy you are loved by many and will be missed ♡♡♡

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