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Family of OC Hiker Who Died Crossing San Gabriel River Says Authorities Didn't Do Enough to Help Search

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The family of 20-year-old Joe Le of Anaheim, the hiker who died after being swept away in the San Gabriel River, now says they believe the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is partly to blame for the young man's death, according to the LA Times. Le's older sister, Victoria, said in an interview "hat she believes her brother could have been saved if sheriff's officials had put more effort into the search-and-rescue operation immediately after the accident."

Joe Le and his friends were hiking in the Angeles National Forest on the afternoon of Friday, April 1, when rushing water knocked Le down as he attempted to wade across a section of the river while clutching an assist rope. Victoria Le turned to Facebook to implore friends and concerned volunteers to help look for Joe, whose body was ultimately located two days later by a volunteer, less than a mile from where he had tried to cross the river.

Victoria Le says that she had expected her crew of volunteers would be helping the uniformed authorities, however she says now she was "disappointed" with their efforts.

According to LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore, "starting Friday afternoon, more than 100 people, including firefighters, three Sheriff's Department search-and-rescue teams and three sheriff's helicopters, were dispatched to search for Joe Le." Whitmore adds that "procedures would be reviewed to see what the department could have done better."