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Seven-year-old girl's floatation device flipped, father attempted rescue from river

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - The third and fourth people drowned on the Sandy River this month.A father and his 7-year-old daughter both drowned Tuesday evening, July 20, on the Sandy River after the girl's floating device flipped in the current and the adult dad attempted a rescue.

At 8:23 p.m. the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office learned two people were struggling in the Sandy River downstream of Dabney State Park. First responders found the man unresponsive in the water near the Stark Street Bridge. They pulled him from the river, began performing CPR, and rushed him to the hospital.

At 9:40 p.m. first responders found the child, also near the bridge. Gresham firefighters performed CPR and she was also rushed by ambulance to a local hospital.

Both father and daughter were pronounced dead at the hospital. After family was notified, they were identified as Erislandy Fernandez-Sanchez, 42, and his daughter Jenni Fernandez-Suarez. Both were Portland residents.

"This weighs heavy on all of us," said Sheriff Mike Reese. "Losing a child, let along two family members in a moment, is unimaginable."

During the search the roads to the riverbanks and Stark Street Bridge were temporarily closed to aid first responders.

This is the third major water rescue call and the third and fourth drowning on the Sandy River this month. On July 3 a 21-year-old swimmer drowned at Dabney State Park. On July 10, a 33-year-old swimmer died after being rescued at Oxbow Regional Park. None of those who drowned were wearing life jackets.


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