PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two men in their early 20s were hospitalized after a tragic boating incident on Monday, officials say. Both men were left with serious injuries — one of them life-threatening — and were taken to Legacy Emanuel for treatment.
Shortly before 4 p.m., Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue crews responded to Rodgers Landing in Newberg, where they say a boat with two people in it ran over two people in inner tubes. KOIN 6 News later learned the two tubers were being towed by the boat involved — until the boat’s operator turned and overcorrected, running over them both.
“The boat was actually towing the two inner tubers behind them and they ended up turning in one direction and then corrected back the other direction which swung the innertube around,” TVFR’s Kim Haughn said.
The rider that left with life-threatening injuries was airlifted to the hospital while the other was taken by ambulance. Officials say one of the victims is related to the boat’s operator.
“They were all known to each other so this was absolutely devastating and our hearts go out to everyone involved and everyone that witnessed it too,” Haughn said.
Signs along the boat ramp at Rogers Landing in Newberg warn of new laws passed this year for the Newberg Pool, requiring operators to have a towed watersports education card and motorboat certificate. Officials say the person operating the boat at the time of the accident was properly licensed but did not have much experience towing a tube.
“The preliminary information we have about this particular incident, it sounds like there’s some inexperience on the part of the operator at the time,” Sgt. Sam Elliott with Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office said.
Families visiting the river for the day told KOIN 6 off-camera that it’s always a worry in the back of their minds but never expected to have it happen so close.
“With the temperatures getting warm, you’re going to see more people out on the water so just being cognizant of your surroundings at all times,” Haughn said. “We never ever want to respond to a call like this. This is absolutely tragic and we just feel so horrible for the family. It was an accident and things do happen but it’s heartbreaking.”
YCSO is asking anyone who may have witnessed the accident and saw what happened to contact them. In the meanwhile, everything is under investigation and authorities say it’s too early to say if any charges will be filed against the boat’s operator.