Lawsuit filed in connection with man's drowning in Guadalupe River

Plaintiffs allege negligence on behalf of river outfitters

The family of a 31-year-old man who drowned in the Guadalupe River blame a popular river outfitter for the incident.

SAN ANTONIO – The family of a 31-year-old man who drowned in the Guadalupe River claim that Rockin' R Rides river outfitters and Huaco Springs recreation area should have posted signs warning of sharp drop-offs in the area where they were having a summer picnic in July.

Alleging negligence, the family of the drowning victim, Roberto Celis, have filed a lawsuit.

The lawsuit said there were no warning signs posted about the water was running swift, a strong undercurrent and drop-offs. 

The family's lawyer, Greg Gallagher, said that Celis had been playing in the water with some younger children when a beach ball floated away from the youngsters.

"He was in knee deep water when he was wading through the water to get the beach ball when he suddenly vanished," Gallagher said. "He went under the water and never came up."

Gallagher said divers later recovered Celis' body.

Gallagher said the divers told him, "There (were) holes and hidden pockets throughout the area that people can step in and fall, and get trapped and not come back out."

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Warning signs are required according to river recreation district rules, Gallagher said.

Since Celis' parents are from Mexico, the lawsuit was filed under a provision called Federal Diversity.

The lawsuit makes no mention of specific monetary damages.

Telephone calls and emails sent to the defendants in the lawsuit seeking a statement were not returned to KSAT 12 News.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.