Police have identified the 19-year-old who is presumed to have drowned after jumping into the water at High Rocks Park.
Emergency crews responded to the popular swimming spot in the Gladstone area at around 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Witnesses told firefighters that Said Osman, 19, of Portland, jumped into the water, popped up about 30 feet from shore and then went back under the water. He wasn't seen again.
Officials have warned about the popular swimming destination, saying the water conditions are extremely dangerous.
Search crews from multiple agencies began looking for Osman Tuesday night then resumed the search Wednesday morning.
Deputies with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office went up and down a stretch of the river just downstream from where the teen jumped into the water.
First responders noted the currents in the river are deadly year round but said the risk is even greater now after a wet winter and with melting snow leading to high, fast-moving water.
Family members and friends of Osman were at the scene all morning, waiting and hoping for answers. They don't expect to find him alive but said getting his body back for burial is very important in their culture.
They told FOX 12 the young man came to the area several years ago with his family to escape the war in Somalia. They also said he graduated from Tigard High School and was a typical teen who loved to hang out with friends and cared deeply about his family.
The family of the teenager did not want to go on camera, but told FOX 12 they found out about the incident Tuesday night after the friends he was swimming with brought them his clothes and wallet.
Lieutenant Kirk Stempel with the Gladstone Fire Department said it is sad to see this kind of tragedy happen again.
"They hit the water, it's extremely cold like I was saying, and by the time they come back up, they are 30 or 40 feet down the river, and they have a hard time fighting that current when they try to swim back," he explained.
Witnesses told FOX 12 Osman was not wearing a life jacket.
First responders are urging people to stay out of the water and start thinking about where they might choose to swim this summer when it gets hot again. They recommend a safe lake or shallow stream for wading, adding that wearing a life jacket is always key.
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