Divers, Coast Guard helicopter searching for missing swimmer at Oxbow Park

KPTV photo.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – Crews recovered the body of a 15-year-old swimmer from the Sandy River at Oxbow Park Monday night, according to the Gresham Fire Department.

Firefighters say the call came in just after 3 p.m. They say the teen was visiting the park with his family. He was wading in the water, went under and did not resurface, according to firefighters.

Divers and a Coast Guard helicopter were searching for him Monday afternoon into the evening.

Just before 6 p.m., the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office dive team found body of the teen under the water, downstream from where he was last seen. The sheriff’s office says he was not wearing a life jacket when they found his body.

FOX 12 spoke with a family who was camping in the park. Rick Bertrand says he has been coming there for more than 30 years and spends a lot of time swimming and rafting.

He says the river is constantly changing and some stretches can be dangerously deceiving.

“It looks pretty tame out there, but there’s boulders out there, huge rocks, and they shift around every year and so it looks nice and even on the top of the surface, but underneath when that’s coming down, it’s making swirls and everything underneath the water that you can’t even see,” Bertrand said.

This is the second drowning at Oxbow Park in just about two weeks. A 7-year-old boy’s body was pulled from the river on July 30. He wasn’t wearing a life jacket either.

Free life jackets are offered near the boat ramp at the park’s popular swimming spot.

Crews say this is a tragic reminder of how dangerous the water can be. They urge people to always wear a life jacket – it could save your life.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(1) comment


Every year...how very sad...they should close this park from February to November...

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