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Life or death drama in American River canyon

Stranded gold panner rescued from Placer County canyon
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist
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Screenshot from Placer Sheriff’s video

A stranded gold panner is pulled to safety above the middle fork American River on Tuesday.

A gold panner was rescued after he couldn’t climb out of the middle fork American River canyon and became trapped overnight.

The rescue took place Tuesday morning near Oxbow Reservoir, about 3 miles east of Foresthill, and involved Placer County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers.

The Sheriff’s Office reported today that the man was with two friends gold panning Monday when he became exhausted and couldn’t move on.

The man’s friends were able to climb out of the steep canyon and summon rescue help.

After several hours, searchers spotted the man in the canyon, 300 feet below a roadway.

Ropes were used to hoist the cold, weak and dehydrated gold panner to safety, the Sheriff’s Office said.

“A storm settled in about an hour after the victim was rescued,” the Sheriff’s Office said. “Had the team arrived an hour later, they may have not found the man due to hazardous mudslides from the rain.”