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Humboldt County Man Dies In NorCal Flooding

Humboldt County Sheriff's Department
Flooding on Highway 211 at Fernbridge on the Eel River in Humboldt County, seen from a helicopter.

UPDATE: March 4, 2019 -- The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the man found deceased following flooding in the Ferndale area.

The victim has been identified as Benito Nunez-Rodriguez, 35, of Ferndale.
An autopsy was conducted today, March 1, 2019. Nunez-Rodriguez’s cause of death has been
determined as drowning.

ORIGINAL POST: Northern California’s heavy rains and subsequent flooding killed a Humboldt County man as he tried to walk home through high water Wednesday evening.  

The Ferndale man was leaving a nearby barn and was overcome by the current as he tried to walk through water about four feet deep.

Samantha Karges is with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office. She says floodwaters can be deceptive.

"You might start walking through the floodwaters and then the road might’ve washed away," she says. "There might’ve been a sinkhole, and all of a sudden now you’re in four feet of water and you didn’t realize it. It only looked like a couple of inches."

The man’s name is being withheld until next-of-kin are notified.

The sheriff’s office says three people in a tractor tried to rescue him, but the tractor stalled in the water, and his attempted rescuers were trapped.

The sheriff’s Marine Unit was able to reach the people in the tractor by boat on Wednesday night.

Rescue crews found the man’s body in a nearby field Thursday morning.

The sheriff’s office says this is the only flood-related death in the area. The majority of rescue operations have been for livestock.