Rescue in the San Joaquin River, California
The woman rescued by a good Samaritan who jumped into the San Joaquin River to save her has tragically passed away. A coroner identified her as Melanie Caligiuri, a 46-year-old resident of Patterson.
The mother is being remembered by her family as a hero after she held her 5-year-old daughter in her arms while pleading for help as their car submerged in the San Joaquin River.
"There was a car floating with a woman and her daughter screaming for their lives as they were about to drown in the water," said Jorge Valladares, who witnessed the whole incident.
Valladares' friend, Eddie Gerardo Cervantes Lora, jumped into the river and helped safely bring the child to shore before returning for Caligiuri.
"The last thing I saw was him making a final effort to bring them closer to the shore and then suddenly disappearing into the water," said Valladares.
Caligiuri later appeared on the shore, alive. On Tuesday, we learned that she lost the battle in the intensive care unit of San Joaquin General Hospital.
In a GoFundMe page, family members said she had always been a fighter. She had overcome stage four colon cancer and had been in remission since July 2022. She also underwent a major surgery last month for a hysterectomy.
They expressed gratitude towards the good Samaritans who helped during the horrific accident.
"What he did was quite heroic. Not many bystanders would do that," said David Hamric, a paramedic from the Manteca Ambulance District.
Hamric was one of the paramedics who responded to the accident that day.
"This was different," Hamric said. "It was a long way to where the incident occurred, and getting there was a challenge."
Hamric has been collecting money to donate to Cervantes Lora's family. He and other rescuers plan to attend the memorial service on Thursday.
Caligiuri and Cervantes Lora leave behind three children and are described by their loved ones as kind and compassionate. Both families have created GoFundMe pages, which can be found here: Melanie Caligiuri and Eddie Gerardo Cervantes Lora.
Location: San Joaquin River, California, USA
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