Friends stunned after San Jose man drowns saving his son from Morgan Hill creek

MORGAN HILL, Calif. (KGO) -- Friends and family are remembering a San Jose man who drowned over the weekend while trying to save his son in a Morgan Hill pond.

There is a sign saying no swimming or wading near Coyote Creek on Monterey Road. But at another entrance we couldn't find a clear warning sign, and that's where the drowning happened.

It was peaceful on Monday at a spot along Coyote Creek where the water flows into a pond. But on Sunday afternoon, it was chaotic.

"We were scared," said Ines Martinez. "We didn't know what was going on, a little disbelief. Praying, praying that everyone was okay."

But it was not okay. Sheriff's deputies say four adults and eight children were there playing in the water. It looks calm, but some of the kids were caught in a current and were pushed into a deeper part of the water.

"Some of the kids were in distress," said Santa Clara County Sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. Rich Glennon. "One kid especially was around age 4 or 5. His father was able to hand the child off to another adult to get him to safety and unfortunately the father went under and was not seen again."

The sheriff's dive team recovered the man's body several hours later, about 15 feet underwater and 30 yards from the shore. The coroner identified him as 35-year-old Saul Garcia of San Jose.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the father who died rescuing his son.

"I don't believe that he's gone, you know?" said a friend of the victim, Ramon Gonzalez. "It's pretty hard, hard to believe that it happened so quick."

Gonzalez works at the ranch near the creek. He says Garcia's kids had just finished riding horses there and then left to go swim. The staff there is grieving.

"This is their place, this is their happy place, you know?" said Martinez. "They love these animals and this is their time with their dad. He'd bring them out all the time. I mean, he was a good guy, he really loved his kids."

At the trail entrance where the family entered, we found a rusty and faded sign.

A rusty sign that used to say "no swimming" is seen near a pond in Morgan Hill, Calif. on July 17, 2017.


Upon closer inspection, you can barely make out that it used to read out "no swimming."

We called Santa Clara County because it appears this is county land and we wanted to find out if they were planning on taking any action or replace the sign. But county officials have not gotten back to us.

If you'd like to help the family via their GoFundMe page, click here.
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