CLARK COUNTY, WA (KPTV) - It is a story of heroism and a reminder of the dangers of swift water in the Northwest. On Sunday, a father and son were swept over Lucia Falls in Clark County.
Robert Brown said they were at the falls showing the area to family who was visiting from out of town.
“We saw some kid jumping off the side of the rocks and I said, Michael, I said that is how accidents happen right there and we end up being the accident,” Robert said.
They were enjoying the rush of the falls and the river. Robert said his son Michael, 12, asked if he could walk across some rocks upstream of the falls and cross to the other side.
“He wanted to go ahead and cross over at that point,” Robert said. “I was good with that and anyway he in the process slipped on a rock.”
Michael fell into the water and within seconds was being pushed by the current to the 15-foot falls just downstream.
Robert said he tried to grab his son from the river bank but was unsuccessful.
“When I was going down I tried to grab on to some rocks but I couldn’t because it was covered in moss and algae and stuff,” Michael said.
With his son moving closer and closer to the falls, the current became swifter and swifter, the pools of the river deeper and deeper.
“That’s when he went underwater and wasn’t coming back up immediately,” Robert said. “So, I had my cell phone on me just ditched it and dove right in to get him.”
In the fast-moving water Robert tried to connect with his son but within seconds they both were headed over the waterfall and into the pool below.
Michael was able to make it to shore. He was not hurt too bad, just a bruise on his arm.
His dad however had much worse. A broken neck and a gash above his eye.
“I said Michael are you okay?” Robert said. “He said yes and then I looked down and blood was just dripping down into the water.”
“I make it down to him and see this huge gash on his face,” Amy Brown, Robert’s wife said.
She quickly called 911, others nearby rushed into help until first responders arrived.
“It is absolutely a miracle that these two came out over a waterfall and came out alive,” Amy said.
Robert was taken to Peace Health Vancouver where he spent several days in the hospital.
The family said they want to share their story in hopes that others will be more cautious about the power of area rivers and lakes. They say they never thought something like this would happen to them.
“Accidents happen every year on the news, all locations around town, you just have to be careful,” Robert said.
“He is my hero and he jumped in after me,” Michael said.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical bills.
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