Man killed in sandbar accident was visiting from NYC - KPTV - FOX 12

Man killed in sandbar accident was visiting from NYC

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Police say 37-year-old Harland Ryman was visiting the Portland area from Brooklyn, New York, when he drowned in the Willamette River Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters responded to Meldrum Bar Park in Gladstone at 2:30 pm on reports of people trapped in a submerged car.

A man and woman were pulled to safety by nearby fishermen, but Ryman disappeared under the water. Rescuers retrieved his body Sunday evening.

Firefighters have responded to similar emergencies in the past, including a fatality three years ago. They say the sandbar at Meldrum Park is deceiving.

When the tide is low, the bar is exposed and seemingly safe to drive on. But when the tide comes in, water covers the bar and drivers get trapped on the far end. Then, officials say they try to drive through the water and back to the parking lot.

On Sunday, police say the driver, 35-year-old Patrick Emerson from Gladstone, misjudged the direction of the jetty and slipped off into deep water.

34-year-old Jennifer Hendricks from Battle Ground was also rescued and taken to the hospital.

Police don’t know how Ryman knew her and Emerson, but they say he was planning to move to the Portland area. 

Divers helped hook up the trio’s small SUV to a tow truck on Monday and pull it out of the river.

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