The final moments of San Francisco resident Roni Avila’s life were spent saving his five-year-old daughter after their kayak overturned Sunday afternoon in the Sacramento River near Rio Vista. The Associated Press reports that the 40-year-old father was kayaking with his daughter when the vessel flipped, and he carried her on his shoulders until a jet skier noticed them and rescued the girl. The father went back underwater after the daughter was saved, and did not surface alive again. A later update from the AP noted that the accident took place at the Brannan Island State Recreation Area in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The incident occurred around 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, according to the Chronicle. Avila’s body was recovered by Solano County Office of Emergency Services and Coast Guard divers around 11 p.m. Sunday night. His name was not immediately released because the next of kin had not been notified, but late Monday morning CBS 13 in Sacramento identified the man as Avila.
“The 40-year-old father and his 5-year-old daughter were kayaking, when the kayak overturned,” according to a press release from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department. “Both the father and daughter went underwater initially. According to witnesses, the father surfaced with the daughter and held her above the water. A good Samaritan on a jet ski was able to grab the daughter and bring her back to shore. The father went underwater and never surfaced. Neither were wearing life jackets.”
The record Sierra snowpack melt is causing unusually swift waters and dangerous conditions. According to CBS 13, three people have drowned in the Sacramento River and Yuba River this year. Park officials are warning people to not swim or boat in the rivers this year because of the perilously heavy currents.
A GoFundMe page has been posted to help cover Avila’s funeral costs and the family’s expenses.
Related: Dog Believed Drowned In Fatal Capsizing Turns Up Alive