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Body of man who tried to surf in Kings River found, deputies say

See why getting in the river could be a deadly decision

Swift water rescue team members trained on the Kings River at Kings Canyon National Park's Cedar Grove last week, but because of the heavy spring runoff, there are times when they may not be able to help.
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Swift water rescue team members trained on the Kings River at Kings Canyon National Park's Cedar Grove last week, but because of the heavy spring runoff, there are times when they may not be able to help.

The Kings County Sheriff’s Office announced Saturday afternoon they found the body of a man who disappeared after falling overnight into the Kings River.

He has been identified by the Sheriff’s Office as Jose Luis Gomez, 31.

Gomez, who is from Stratford, was reportedly “surfing” on the Tulare Lake Canal spillway around 2 a.m. in the area of Highway 41 and Lincoln Avenue, just south of the small Kings County town.

Cmdr. Kris Zuniga said Gomez was with his cousin and had attempted to surf onto the river with a pool raft. But the raft did not hold once he was on the water, and he sank.

Gomez’s cousin attempted to jump in to help him, but he almost got swept away, too, Zuniga said. The cousin then called the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office requested aid from the nearby Tulare County Water Rescue unit.

Officials have cautioned residents against jumping into area rivers due to fast-moving currents.

The Kings River had been closed in several areas from Pine Flat Dam to Kings County due to flood and water safety concerns.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez

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Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is a general assignment reporter at The Fresno Bee. He grew up in Porterville and has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from Fresno State. He is a former student editor at the Fresno State and Fresno City College newspapers. His hobbies include reading, sleeping, running and taking care of his dog.
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