2 Children Die in Hillside Collapse Near California Dam - The World News

2 Children Die in Hillside Collapse Near California Dam

Two children were killed on Thursday when a hillside collapsed near a dam in Northern California, the authorities said, days after heavy rainfall pummeled the region.

Around 9 a.m., the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department responded to an area of the Chappie-Shasta Off-Highway Vehicle Area, near a trail and campground, for a report of rocks and debris that had broken away from the hillside near a drain culvert, the sheriff’s department said in a statement. The area, officials said, is located about a quarter of a mile from the Shasta Dam, which spans the Sacramento River just north of Redding, Calif.

The two children, whose names and ages were not released, had fallen down the hillside and were caught in the debris, the statement said. The sheriff’s office asked the Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the dam, to temporarily reduce water releases to help with search efforts.

The children were found in the debris and had suffered injuries during the fall, the statement said. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

Multiple agencies responded, including the sheriff’s office’s search and rescue team, dive team and boating safety unit. It was unclear how the children ended up at the bottom of the hillside, or if anyone else had been with them. The sheriff’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The sheriff’s office did not say whether recent rainfall was a factor in the collapse of the hillside. But the area near the dam received more than 4 inches of rain by Wednesday in a recent storm, according to the National Weather Service, combining for more than 8 inches of rain so far this month.

At 600 feet tall, the Shasta Dam is one of the tallest in the United States, and tames the Sacramento River some 200 miles north of San Francisco. The dam captures the annual snowmelt from Mount Shasta and creates a vast reservoir that anchors California’s irrigation system.

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