Triplicate Staff

An adult male drowned Tuesday afternoon in the Smith River near Ruby Van Deventer County Park on North Bank Road, according to the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office.

At approximately 4 p.m. Smith River Fire Department was first on responded to a report of a 13-year-old in distress in the river across from Ruby Van Deventer Park. The call was soon followed by a report of an adult male seen floating at the bottom of the river after attempting to help the juvenile. When Del Norte County Sheriff's Search and Rescue personnel arrived, the man had already been pulled out of the water by a bystander, Sheriff's Sgt. Richard Griffin told the Triplicate. Attempts to revive the man were unsuccessful.

According to Griffin, the victim may not have been trying to rescue the 13-year-old as first reported, but was swimming with several children at a family reunion across from the park. While the children were described as wearing "floaties," the male victim had no flotation device.

His name has not been released to the public.

The Smith River is 20andndash;25 feet deep where the accident occurred, Griffin said. He stressed that although the river is low this time of year, people need to be careful of its strong currents. Prolonged exposure to the cold water also can lead to hypothermia.

Smith River Fire Department, the Del Norte County Sheriff's Office, California Highway Patrol, Fort Dick Fire Department, search and rescue, divers and boating and safety teams all responded to the incident.