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Fatal vehicle accident in the Feather River Canyon

Feather Publishing
4:30 p.m. updated

From PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno: "Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the families and friends of all the employees involved, as well as their colleagues and crew members. We are currently looking into ways that PG&E can support the employees' families. It is a sad day in the PG&E family."

9:15 a.m. - The California Highway Patrol has identified the two PG&E workers who perished in the 4:30 p.m. accident. Both of the men were from the Chico area. The driver was 29-year-old Ryan Patrick Miles, and the front seat passenger, 31-year-old Aaron Joseph Weiss. The men were unable to exit the vehicle after it left the roadway about half a mile before the Rock Creek Dam and both apparently drowned in the submerged truck.

The survivors in the back seat who suffered minor injuries are 48-year-old Mike Diefenderfer from Paradise and 25-year-old Loren Bird of Chico.
Two PG&E workers were killed Thursday afternoon when their Ford F-550 pickup plunged into the Rock Creek Reservoir on Highway 70, two miles southwest of Belden (map). Two other workers were able to escape the vehicle and swim to the surface.
Photo by Will Farris

CHP Sgt. James Wheaton while being interviewed on television at the scene commented, "There doesn't appear to be any speed involved or any other factors. There were no other vehicles that we know of were involved. Simply, there is a sharp curve towards their left and it looks like the tires drifted off to the right and got into the dirt. The driver apparently looked like he over corrected, there are skid marks going across both lanes and then goes right into the river or the lake area."

Further details and interviews with witnesses will be provided in next week's newspaper.


7:30 p.m. - We have confirmation from our reporter on the scene that this was a PG&E Ford F-550 work truck that left the roadway and plunged into the Feather River with its four occupants. It was pulled out of the water this evening by a tow truck. The single vehicle accident happened about a mile and a half southwest of Maple Leaf in the Rock Creek Reservoir. There are two confirmed fatalities. Two others escaped from the vehicle, one with an injured shoulder. No names are being released at this time.

5:40 p.m. - CHP says two victims are still missing at this time and allegedly in the vehicle under 25 feet of water. The Plumas County Sheriff Office Search and Rescue team is responding with divers for a deep water rescue. Some emergency personel on the way to the scene were finding it a challenge to get past the bridge and power pole construction at the Spanish Creek Bridge near Keddie.

5:00 p.m. - Two people are out of the vehicle, one uninjured, the second person has a shoulder injury and both are in a CHP vehicle staying warm.

Original post 4:45 p.m. - There is a vehicle accident near the Rock Creek Powerhouse in the Feather River Canyon on Highway 70. The vehicle is allegedly in the water with four occupants.

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