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Law enforcement agencies call off water rescue operation after seven hours in Hollister, woman declines to press charges

HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION-TV)- In Hollister, a water rescue operation was implemented that began early Thursday morning and everything derived from the pursuit of a man who decided to jump into the river to flee from the authorities.

The incident started around 2 a.m. this morning when the San Benito County Sheriff's Office received reporting a disturbance.

A woman who lives in a tent near the San Benito River told deputies that a man was inside and she argued with him because she did not want him there.

Authorities said they arrived at 1:30 a.m. and attempted to contact the individual, described as a Hispanic man, identified as Jonathan, but had no luck.

According to CAL FIRE, the man fled and ended up jumping into the river just below the bridge near 4th St, sparking a search to rescue him.

Joseph Franco who lives in Hollister was surprised to hear about the man who jumped from the bridge.

"I don't understand why anyone would do that," Franco said. "The water is rushing at 45 miles per hour, there is no possible way anyone can hold on to solid ground."

CAL FIRE said the rescue operation was a team effort.

"The City of Hollister had different boarding points, they had 3 different pieces of apparatus," said Curtis Rhodes, fire captain and spokesman for the Cal Fire BEU Department. "And the San Jose task force came on board, plus there was an abundance of fire personnel, the San Benito County sheriffs were all hands on deck," Rhodes said.

Rhodes said there were between 10 and 15 agencies trying to locate the man so they could give him medical attention due to a possible hyperthermia reaction.

The California Highway Patrol also participated in the rescue. The San Benito County Sheriff's Office said homeless people in the area informed fire fighters that Jonathan had come out of the river and matched his characteristics and the clothing he was wearing.

Officers saw him go to San Juan Bautista and deputies also added that Jonathan may have faced a misdemeanor charge of obstructing an arrest of a law enforcement officer, but the woman who found him inside his tent did not want to press charges.

The San Benito County Sheriff's Office said that Jonathan came from Gilroy and had stayed in Hollister a few days before this emergency occurred that lasted about seven hours.

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Nataly Gutierrez


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