California man died trying to save drowning kids he had never met

BySontaya Rose KFSN logo
Friday, August 7, 2020
Fresno man who died trying to rescue drowning kids identified
29-year-old Manjeet Singh came to the U.S. two years ago from India.

REEDLEY, Calif. -- Three children were swept away in the Kings River in California on Wednesday. A brave bystander happened to see it happening and jumped in to help.

The selfless hero was later identified as 29-year-old Manjeet Singh. He came to the United States two years ago from India and recently moved to Fresno to start a trucking business.

He had just started truck driving school Wednesday. After training ended he wanted to cool off, so he went down to Kings River with his brother-in-law to ride jet skis.

Soon, he noticed a commotion in the water.

Three children--one boy and two girls--got swept away by a current. Singh immediately jumped in to help.

"He went in to try to help them and unfortunately went under pretty quickly and never came back up," Reedley Police Commander Marc Ediger said.

Other bystanders also rushed over to help. They were able to pluck one of the children out of the water. A second child was able to get to safety himself.

However the third child did not make it. She was found underwater about 15 minutes later.

It took rescue crews 40 minutes to find Singh and pull him out of the water. He was found next to some brush not far from the shore.

On Thursday afternoon, police confirmed the 8-year-old girl is on life support at Valley Children's Hospital. The little girl was with her friends and their parents when they were swept away.

Her family is from Mexico, and now her distraught parents are trying to fly her siblings in from there to see her one final time.

The two families have now been devastated after what they hoped would be a fun evening in the river.

Local authorities said this time of year the water can be dangerous and deceiving. The area beyond the shore dramatically drops off, and the current picks up.

"I think the kids waded out too far and started being carried by the current under the bridge," Ediger said.

Officers don't know how well Singh could swim or if any clothes he was wearing may have weighed him down, making it harder to tread water.