High School Senior Drowns in San Joaquin River

FRESNO, Calif. (CBS) — Neng Thao was identified by the Fresno County Coroner’s Office as the 18-year-old man who was found in the San Joaquin River, Saturday. It happened around 4:30 p.m. near Palm and Nees Avenues.

Thao was found submerged in nearly 10 feet of water after being swept away by the fast current of the river, First Responders said.

Thao was a senior at Edison High School and was set to graduate on June 5 with on honors and as valedictorian of his senior class, according to his GoFundMe account.

According to the City of Fresno, Thao worked with Mayor Lee Brand as part of the City’s Youth Commission, where he was a Mayoral Appointee.

Mayor Brand had just re-appointed Thao last Thursday.

The Mayor released a statement saying:

“This is a heartbreaking loss for our entire community, and on behalf of the City of Fresno, I’d like to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Neng Thao. He was an exceptional young man and a valued leader on the City’s Youth Commission, where he was a Mayoral appointee. Neng made a positive impact on everyone he met and and we are all deeply saddened by the news of this tragic loss.”

Thao’s GoFundMe account says he had a passion for working in the community. It says he was accepted to UC Berkeley and planned to major in Political Science.

Thao was the youngest of 10 children.

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