River Sweeps Away, Kills Pair Of Young Siblings

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Dana Abizaid Contributor
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Two young siblings died Tuesday afternoon after falling into a river in California and being swept downstream, ABC7 reported.

The accident took the lives of a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother who were on an outing with their mother at a picnic area in San Bernardino County, according to ABC7.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that the 4-year-old girl fell into the river while the mother was taking care of her son, ABC7 reported. (RELATED: Rushing Water Sweeps Away Four Boys Near Dam During Birthday Fishing Trip, Two Die)

“The mother searched for her but could not locate her,” ABC7 reported the sheriff’s department saying. “When she returned, her son was missing and assumed to be down river as well.”

Authorities said the mother, who scanned the area with another family member but couldn’t find the children, was unable to contact 911 emergency services for over an hour because of limited cell connection in the area, according to the outlet.

“It’s tough,” San Bernardino County Fire Department Battalion Chief Michael McClintock told ABC7. “It’s a tragic situation, and many of us are parents, and it’s really hard on our firefighters, especially because these are our people.”

Fire department officials said the mother told them that after the girl fell in the river she went after her but was unable to rescue her, according to ABC7.

After rescuers found the children, they rushed them to local hospitals where both were pronounced dead Tuesday evening, ABC7 reported.

In light of the accident, local authorities are issuing warnings regarding the danger drowning poses for toddlers, according to ABC7.

“Drowning is the leading cause of death for kids from 1 to 4 years old, with 4,000 [deaths] a year, which is about 11 a day,” McClintock told the outlet. “The biggest thing we can do is at pools at home to have natural barriers, make sure they’re supervised, and when going to lakes and rivers, really make sure we’re watching our kids.”

The children’s drowning deaths are currently being investigated, ABC7 reported.