Citizen credited with saving trio from Sacramento River

REDDING, Calif. — Authorities have credited a Redding man with rescuing  three people from the Sacramento River after their small boat took on water and began sinking early Monday evening, May 11.

Monday’s rescue was the second time citizens were instrumental in rescuing stranded river-goers in less than a week, after two boaters helped officials rescue five people when their inflatable vessel snagged on a partially submerged log.

That rescue happened just one day after the body of an Anderson man was recovered from the river, after the victim became fatigued while trying to swim across the river to help a friend whose Jet Ski had broken down.

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Redding Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to the scene just before 5 p.m., after SHASCOM received a call of an overturned raft on the Sacramento River, Shasta County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rob Sandbloom reported after the incident and successful rescue.

California Highway Patrol’s Air-Ops and members of the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety Unit also responded to the water rescue.

“SHASCOM received reports of at least two people, who were in the water and hanging on to the overturned raft,” explained Sandbloom.

Officials say Redding resident Doug Alcorn, (second from left,) was instrumental in rescuing three men thrown into the Sacramento River after their small boat began taking on water and capsized on Monday. SCSO photo

While officials were responding to the area, south of the SR 44 over-crossing, Doug Alcorn of Redding, saw what was happening while fishing from his drift boat on the river near the incident.

Seeing the immediate danger, Alcorn sprang into action and piloted his drift boat over to the overturned raft, according to Sandbloom.

“Alcorn was able to rescue the three men from the cold and fast moving river and got them into his drift boat,” explained Sandbloom; saying that even though the three men had life jackets inside their raft when it began sinking, none were wearing their flotation devices when their boat overturned; dumping the trio into the icy and swift moving currents of the river.

After reaching the overturned boat, Alcorn then helped the three men right the vessel before helping the three men to the shoreline.

Although the three victims, since identified as Ron Richter, 68, and Steve Rosenberry, 62, both from San Jose, CA, and Andrew Richter, 34, from Rocklin, CA, were cold and wet, they were checked out at the scene by medical personnel, but did not require any further medical assistance.

Although left cold and wet by their ordeal, the three rescued victims were otherwise OK and did not require medical treatment. SCSO photo

Deputies assigned to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Boating Safety Unit later learned the three victims had been using a raft with a rowing frame attached and had deployed their anchor while fishing.

“When the anchor held the raft in position, the strong river current pushed against the raft causing it to sink lower in the water,” explained Sandbloom. “The raft continued to sink lower in the water before the anchor could be released.”

With water flooding into the raft, the small vessel eventually capsized, throwing all three men into the river.

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After the successful rescue, Sandbloom took the opportunity to thank the agencies who responded to the incident, along with Alcorn “for his quick reaction and response in saving all three men.”

“(Alcorn’s) gallant act rescued fellow fishermen from the cold and fast moving water of Sacramento River, after their fishing raft capsized and they were not wearing life jackets,” said Sandbloom.

Sandbloom also reminded river enthusiasts that the Sacramento River is cold and at times has very fast moving water.

“The Sheriff’s Office encourages everyone to wear a life jacket when on or near the water,” admonished Sandbloom. “The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind recreational boaters to follow manufacture guidelines for vessel capacity, which includes number of occupants and equipment weight.”

“I’m just thankful my dad was there, at the right place and at the right time,” Alcorn’s daughter, Kimberly Keilman later told SCNS.

“He’s an incredible human being, not to mention father,” Keilman continued. “He’s always eager to help, and I’m happy he was able to make such a big impact in someone else’s life.”


Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Shasta County Sheriff’s Office photos


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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.

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