Recovery effort underway for man swept away in Alameda County canal

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

A recovery effort is underway after a man fell into a canal in Alameda County this weekend and has not been located, the sheriff’s office said Sunday night.

Just before 10 p.m. on Friday, deputies were alerted to a possible drowning at the Delta-Mendota Canal under Grant Line Road. A group fishing in the area said that a man fell into the canal and got swept away by the rapid current.

The man, identified as 56-year-old Hollister resident Lester Ashcraft, reportedly slipped from a steep embankment and the group he was with attempted to rescue him, but he could not stay afloat in the fast current.

In an effort to find Ashcraft, the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority slowed the canal’s current from 3,500 cubic feet per second to 900 cubic feet per second, the sheriff’s office said, but the current was still unsafe for divers to enter.

Despite searches by air, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and on foot, the multi-agency effort to locate Ashcraft was unsuccessful, said the sheriff’s office on social media Sunday night.

Rescue crews also conducted an additional search again on Saturday but could not locate him.

As of Sunday, the recovery of Ashcraft will be “dictated by the current,” the sheriff’s office said.

Ashcraft’s information has been entered into the Missing and Unidentified Persons System and shared with surrounding law enforcement agencies.

“We will continue to do everything possible until he is recovered,” the sheriff’s office said.

The San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority, Alameda County and Livermore Pleasanton Fire Departments, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Boating Safety Unit, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office patrol, air, and UAV teams assisted in the search.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.