HESPERIA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California man drowned when he jumped into an aqueduct to save his 9-year-old son after the boy crashed his bike and fell in the rushing water, authorities said Monday.
The boy made it out safely, but his father never resurfaced after leaping into the waterway Sunday afternoon in Hesperia, said Cindy Bachman, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
When responding deputies couldn’t find the man, they called in a dive team. Rescuers searched the water for nearly two hours before recovering the body of Osbaldo Rodriguez, 31, a short distance downstream.
“This man did what any reasonable person would do under these circumstances, he saved his son,” Bachman wrote in a sheriff’s department statement. “This is a very tragic accident.”
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The aqueduct about 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles is popular with bicyclists, walkers and joggers. Bachman warns that people should use caution because the water can be cold and swift-moving, and the sides of the waterway are slippery.
A man drowned last February after rescuing his dog from the rushing water. In March, a woman and two of her three young sons died when their car crashed through a fence and into the water. Another woman died in September after her car plunged into the aqueduct.