Thousands of rafters gathered on a California river for a float. But Saturday’s “Rafting Gone Wild” event on the American River “degenerated into a series of brawls this afternoon with dozens of rafters fighting each other with oars and rocks and hurling stones at deputies on the scene,” according to the Sacramento news.
More than 3,500 people gathered for the second annual event.
At around 5 pm local time, approximately 50 tubers began fighting on the beach area along the river. Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Dept. deputy chief Scott Cockrum said that people were “beating each other with paddles or rocks and hurling stones at fire and rescue boats.”
According to KCRA-TV, there were at least 12 arrests on Saturday from the fight.
“There are so many intoxicated people it’s like ridiculous,” Marisa Taylor, a 20-year-old participant.
“It started out fairly reasonable, but as they day went on, the drunkenness and the fights increased with them,” Randy Lewis, a Sacramento County park ranger, added.
About 100 people were injured during last year’s event, held on the same river in August, with 10 people arrested.
At least 60 police and fire officials were monitoring the event this past Saturday. According to KCRA, “the water was much calmer Saturday than it was during last year’s event.”
But “even the most serene setting can turn ugly, given enough time and alcohol,” the paper said.