Bear is swept into raging rapids ‘no human could have survived,’ California video shows

Screenshot of Washington Volunteer Fire Department's video on Facebook

Dramatic video shows a black bear getting swept up in raging rapids after it tried to swim across a river in California.

Video posted Saturday, May 27, shows the bear as it hops into the water and is immediately swept downstream by white-capped currents. The bear’s head bobs under the water several times before it manages to break free of the rapids and furiously swim to shore.

Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Stewart captured the video from the back deck of the Washington Hotel along the Yuba River in Washington, California, he told McClatchy News. The department has been warning people to stay out of the river as heavy snowpack has more than doubled the amount of spring runoff that’s typical for the area, he said.

Officials said the bear was found safe.

“Shook like a dog and went looking for a picnic basket,” officials said.

People were relieved to hear the bear made it out OK.

“I was holding my breath through the entire video! The current is fierce,” they said.

The rapids were so strong, fire officials doubted a human would have lived through the same ordeal.

“No human could have survived that,” they said in the comments.

Stewart estimated the bear weighs about 300 pounds, ABC10 reported.

Officials shared a public service announcement regarding the river in April.

“As a child growing up on the South Yuba River there were lots of rules that other kids didn’t have, but two have stuck with me:

  1. You can’t go barefoot until mom’s birthday (early May), and

  2. You can’t go down to the river until the Fourth of July.

“Number 2 is especially true this year!” the post says. “With the epic snowpack and the warmer weather, the already high river will increase its flow starting Friday as the high-country lakes start to spill.”

Washington, California, is about 80 miles northeast of Sacramento.

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