A man was declared dead Sunday after Santa Barbara County emergency units responded to a recreational swimming area along the Santa Ynez River, just west of the Gibraltar Reservoir, according to a County Fire spokesman.
First responders received a call of a possible male drowning victim at 2:42 p.m. along the river, in the Red Rocks recreational area of Los Padres National Forest, according to County Fire Capt. Daniel Bertucelli. The area is located approximately 11 miles west of Cachuma Lake.
Emergency units included Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue, the Sheriff's Office, Los Padres National Forest and County fire personnel, American Medical Response paramedics and CalSTAR.
Responding units thoroughly searched the water wearing dry suits and other protective equipment in the area where the man was last seen, according to Search and Rescue officials. The victim, whose name was not immediately released but was identified as a man in his 30s, was located in the deeper part of the water close to a wall away from the shore.
He was brought to the shore, where emergency technicians attempted life-saving measures on him but were not successful and he was declared dead at the scene, according to Search and Rescue officials.
Sheriff's officials are leading the investigation into the incident and will release the victim's identification after family have been notified first, officials added.
Search and Rescue officials reminded the public to bring personal floatation devices and other protective equipment when swimming and to only recreate in backcountry areas that are familiar.
Additionally, they've cautioned swimmers to stay away from underwater obstacles, including rocks and branches that may be underneath the surface of the water or have moved over time.