OROVILLE, Calif. - The Butte County Sheriff's Office is warning parents to teach their children where and when to swim after a 12-year-old Oroville boy drowned in an irrigation canal in Gridley Tuesday.
The incident happened around 3:15 p.m. when a boy swimming in the canal was sucked into a pipe spilling water into an open field near Humble and Archer Avenues.
Despite efforts by neighbors, the boy was stuck under water for about 30 minutes before six firefighters worked him free.
He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Swimming in canals is strongly discouraged, and the Butte County Sheriff's Office actually had a deputy patrolling the area near the drowning in the days prior warn kids to stay out of the waters due to dangers lurking beneath the surface.
Wednesday, the sheriff's office offered up some advice to parents.
"Kids need to be taught that water may look safe but there's currents, there's water temperatures that are unsafe, there's undertow. There's so many things that can happen even if water does look safe, it may not be safe underneath," said Sheriff's Office media liaison Miranda Bowersox. "Accidents can happen so quickly, so it's just very important to keep the swimming to a designated swimming area."
Bowersox also warned parents to teach their kids to always tell an adult before they go swimming and to stay away from water when an adult is not around.
Hopes are that lessons learned from the tragedy Tuesday can keep children safe for the rest of the summer.