Slick Rock visitor injured in fall, swimmer stranded


On spring days when temperatures soar, visitors flock to the Slick Rock Recreation Area to take a cooling dip into the snowmelt-swollen river that feeds Lake Kaweah. On Monday, May 12, Lake Kaweah park rangers received a mid-afternoon call for medical aid. 

The victim who needed assistance was a 34-year-old man who had slipped on a rock while trying to retrieve an errant shoe. Emergency personnel arrived on the scene and, after examining the victim, determined that he had suffered a broken leg. 

The victim was placed on a gurney and loaded into an ambulance. The man was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia for further treatment.

“People often don’t realize that the rocks along the river can be dangerous and even more so when they are wet,” said Phil Deffenbaugh, Lake Kaweah’s general manager. “This guy was fortunate that he didn’t end up in the water.”

At 8:12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 14, a Sheriff’s dispatcher received a call that a 20-year-old female was stranded on a rock in the Kaweah River below the first parking area at Slick Rock. By the time Tulare County Fire Department personnel and Sheriff’s Department deputies arrived on scene, the stranded swimmer had made it back across the river channel safely. 

Deffenbaugh said the triple digits will cause water levels to rise significantly in the next few days. Shorelines will change and flows will increase, especially in the late afternoon and early evening when temperatures reach daytime highs and the daily snowmelt from the mountains arrives in the foothills waterways.

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