[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.
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.