Beware the deceptively strong underwater currents in the Russian River, because two young men have drowned in recent days while just trying to enjoy themselves and cool off in the river's waters.

The water level has been more than decent along the Russian River, which was a welcome thing for Sonoma County residents seeking to cool off during this past week's heatwave. But amid all that fun in the sun, there were two tragedies along the river in recent days.

Last Wednedsay, 28-year-old Nasoni "Toni" Tuitoga of Santa Rosa joined his friends for a trip to the river. By evening, those friends were calling 911, after Tuitoga reportedly got pulled underwater by a whirlpool and drowned.

The call came in at 6:17 pm on July 3, with a report of a man who had disappeared in the water near Villa Grande, an unincorporated area near Monte Rio. As KTVU reports, Tuitoga's body was not found for two days, with search teams from the Sonoma County Sheriff's Marine Unit, Sonoma County Sheriff Volunteer Dive Team and the Monte Rio Fire Protection District all working in tandem. His body was finally pulled from the river Friday afternoon.

A second drowning occurred just a day after that, on Saturday, at Monte Rio Beach. As KRON4 reports, the sheriff’s department received a 911 call at 6:40 pm and arrived to find bystanders performing CPR on the male victim. Paramedics were also unable to revive him.

That man was identified by the sheriff's office on social media Monday as 51-year-old Pedro Ramirez Lopez of Richmond.

"Multiple people have died in the Russian River in 2024," the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says. "While it looks calm on the surface, the river can have strong currents, deep spots and drop-offs, and underwater debris. We urge everyone to practice water safety when they visit our beautiful river."

The sheriff's office further urges everyone to "wear a life jacket regardless of your swimming abilities," and to not combine drinking with swimming.

This pair of drownings follow the drowning death of a 15-year-old boy in the river in early April. The boy and another teenager were swept away in a current, and the other boy managed to pull himself to safety.

Photo via Monte Rio Rec & Parks District