By Lt. Mike Tuntakit, AA/PIO
Avenal State Prison
While fishing with two of his cousins on the early morning of June 23, Officer Jess Moran saw a 5-year-old boy near the edge of the Sequoia River, slip, bounce off rocks and plunge into the moving river.
Moran saw members of the boy’s family, who were hiking along the river, frantically jumping into river, including the boy’s uncle, Victor Mozqueda, 22.
Moran immediately dropped his fishing pole and without thinking twice about his own safety, jumped into the freezing river and swam across to render aid as his cousins called 911.
When Moran arrived, he assisted pulling the young boy to shore and did everything to pull the 22-year-old from the river.
But Moran was physically unable to save the man as the currents were too strong. Moran suddenly feared he was about to go under due to the strong currents and exited the waters.
Moran said his CDCR training kicked in and he assessed the young boy who was lifeless.
Moran jumped into action starting chest compressions (CPR) and went through several cycles, with the father’s assistance. Moran said he was fearful because the CPR didn’t seem to be working but he continued.
After several CPR cycles, water began to come out from the boy’s mouth, and with several more cycles even more water until he finally heard a faint cry and realized the boy was resuscitated.
Emergency Response Crews arrived, including the Tulare County Firefighters and Sheriff’s Deputies who searched for Mozqueda for two hours before discovering his body nearby.
The 5 year old boy was rushed by ambulance to a helicopter and flown to a nearby hospital. As a result of the brave acts of Moran and everyone there, this young boy is still alive and reportedly doing well according to his family.
Mozqueda’s father said his son would have given his life to save a stranger. The family also said Mozqueda did not know how to swim but jumped in the water and ended up losing his life to save his nephew.
Moran said he was very thankful he was able to save the young boy and resuscitate him and at the same time very saddened he was unable to save Mozqueda.
Moran wanted to remind people that to be extremely careful in these areas as this is the second death in two weeks at this same area.
It doesn’t matter if it is a backyard pool or a hike in the mountains, always keep a close watch of your kids and be aware of the surrounding dangers.