BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern river is dangerous especially if people don’t take it seriously.
Now that Spring break is underway for students across the state, it’s bringing a sense of worry to the community around Keyesville.
“It be like driving a car you know you need to know the rules,” Tom Moore the president of Sierra South Inc. said. “Don’t get into the river unless you know what you’re getting into. You shouldn’t ever get into the river without a lifejacket unless you know what you’re doing.”
More than 315 people have drowned in the river since 1968.
On Monday, the coroner ID’d the latest victim; a 9-year-old from L.A.
But even with these deaths people still come out play.
“We’re locals we don’t swim here,” Danny Griffith a Keyesville local said. “People that come up here they just say, ‘Hey, the water looks great, I’m hot,’ pshhh they go swimming.”
Many of those people are from out of town, unaware of the deadly history the river has. Some take safety precautions but still choose to swim.
Bengt Luotonen is from Riverside County.
“The whole family we swim here and it’s been okay but you have to be careful,” Luotonen a vacationer at Keyesville campgrounds said. “The kids are wearing life vests and there are warning signs[…]It’s a river so you have to be careful but it’s fun too so.”
Officials ask everyone to avoid the river or instead go with a professional company. But even then risk is still involved.
“We want to really really urge people whether they are from here or somewhere else that they are communicating with their families who might be visiting to stay out of the Kern River it’s very dangerous,” Lori Meza with Kern County Sherriff’s Office said.
The Kern River water levels can differ. Don’t let it fool you. It can be low or high, all the way to the top of the rocks but at the end of the day it’s still deadly and locals say, “enough is enough.”