Sheriff: Rivers more deceptive than you think

Clackamas County

Clackamas County deputies have responded to 5 water rescues this week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — During a week marked by drownings in the Portland area, river patrol officials are reminding people how to stay safe on the water.

On Thursday, a 22-year-old man disappeared beneath the surface while swimming at High Rocks Park on the Clackamas River. He spent 12 minutes underwater before a lifeguard rescued him and was taken to a hospital in critical condition and has since passed according to his family.

Adam Peterson with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said the incident at High Rocks was the first near-drowning deputies have seen in some time.

But that doesn’t mean first responders haven’t been busy. Peterson said deputies responded to around 5 water rescues in the past several days involving people who were stranded or mildly hurt.

The best way to avoid a tragedy on the water, Peterson said, is to wear a lifejacket, stay sober and always be aware of your surroundings because danger lurks in even the most calm-looking rivers.

“This is a river, it is not a swimming pool,” Peterson said.

And rivers can be deceptive.

“You’ll see kids out here playing in the water,” Peterson said. “They take one step too far and it goes from 6 inches deep to 3 to 4 feet deep and you’re in the current.”

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