Contra Costa deputy sheriff drowned trying to rescue sister

(KRON) — The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office released new details surrounding the drowning death of Deputy Carlos Francies.

In a statement released Friday morning, the sheriff’s office said Francies, 30, of Sacramento, his girlfriend, his sister and another male friend had rented paddles and kayaks at El Dorado Beach near Lake Tahoe. Francies and his girlfriend were on the paddle boards, while his sister and the other man were on kayaks.

“Deputy Francies saw his sister fall off of her kayak from a standing position. Their friend near to her jumped off his own kayak to assist her. While doing so, their friend kept hold of his paddle, as his own kayak drifted some distance away. After helping Deputy Francie’s sister back aboard her kayak, the man began swimming to retrieve his own kayak. Because he swam while still holding his paddle, it appeared to Deputy Francies from a distance that his friend was in distress,” the sheriff’s office said.

“Almost immediately however, only about 20 feet or so from his paddle board, Deputy Francies began to falter and fall into distress himself. He was struggling to stay on the surface and called to his girlfriend, a registered nurse, to toss him the life jacket from her paddle board. She attempted to do so, but was forced to throw against the strong wind. The life jacket fell far short of Deputy Francies.”

His girlfriend was able to retrieve the life jacket and bring it to him but by the time she reached Francies, who sank below the surface, had gone unconscious.

Francies’ girlfriend and a Good Samaritan pulled Francies onto a paddle board and brought him back to shore. His girlfriend began CPR while Francies was still on paddle board while making their way to the shore. Medics took over CPR efforts.

“The South Lake Tahoe Police Department recognizes that Deputy Carlos Francies acted heroically in laying down his own life in his attempt to save another here in our city. We are deeply saddened at the loss of this brave public servant, and extend our deepest condolences to his family, to his agency and to his community,” the sheriff’s office said.

Francies was with the Contra Costa Country Sheriff Department for three years.

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