California

Dad hears son scream as he backs up houseboat in fatal mishap, Calif. sheriff says

A horrific accident involving a houseboat propeller killed a 23-year-old San Jose man at Lake Shasta, shown in 2008, in Northern California, sheriff’s officials say. The man’s father was backing up the boat at the time.
A horrific accident involving a houseboat propeller killed a 23-year-old San Jose man at Lake Shasta, shown in 2008, in Northern California, sheriff’s officials say. The man’s father was backing up the boat at the time. The Associated Press file

A 49-year-old San Jose man started backing a rental houseboat up to a dock Friday afternoon on Northern California’s Lake Shasta, sheriff’s officials report.

Then he heard a scream about 4:30 p.m., Deputy Ray Hughes wrote in a Shasta County Sheriff’s Office press release.

His 23-year-old son, Kevin Rivera-Cornejo, had jumped or fallen from the houseboat’s back swim deck as his father reversed toward the dock, Hughes wrote. Rivera-Cornejo was alone at the time.

The houseboat propeller cut Rivera-Cornejo’s legs, the release says. His father shut down the engine and rushed to help pull his son from the water.

The family began CPR and called 911, then deputies applied tourniquets to his legs as they took Rivera-Cornejo in a patrol boat to be airlifted to a hospital, Hughes wrote.

But Rivera-Cornejo died of his injuries, the release says.

Alcohol was not a factor in the accident, Hughes wrote.

On Aug. 19, 45-year-old Somsanith Ricky Phuthama of El Sobrante, California, drowned at Lake Shasta while cooling off with friends, The Redding Record-Searchlight reported.

In 2018, two people died at the lake, though neither death involved the water, according to the publication. A man was found dead in his tent while a woman died after being crushed by a log.

Don't be the river’s next victim. Use the Sacramento Drowning Accident Rescue Team’s tips to save yourself from drowning.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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