REDDING, Calif. – The Record Searchlight reported yesterday that three fishermen were pitched into the frigid waters of the Sacramento River when their 17-foot driftboat struck a pillar at the SR 44 bridge. Fortunately, all three, including a 14 year-old teenager, were wearing safety vests and were able to swim to shore. No injuries were reported.
This bridge has been under reconstruction for over the last year, and the river has been narrowed into a fast moving channel. Authorities attributed the incident to the inexperience of the 44-year-old operator.
This may be so, but boaters are not screened for experience, nor warned of the specific hazards created by the reconstruction work at this bridge as well as the Cypress Street bridge approximately 3/4 of a mile downstream.
Our Redding lawyers have been monitoring the safety issues at these bridges under construction for some time. At least three capsize events have occurred since construction began. One death occurred at the construction work at North Street bridge in Anderson last year.
Perhaps this most recent incident should prompt a re-look at the safety of continuing to allow boating traffic from the Posse Grounds to below the Cypress Street bridge during construction.