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Victim dragged under by current, dies despite lifesaving attempts; third incident on river in last three days

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY SHERIFFS OFFICE - Another swimmer has drowned on the Sandy River after getting swept under at Dabney State Park.  A man drowned in the Sandy River Friday afternoon, July 29, while swimming near Dabney State Park.

Just after 4 p.m. Multnomah County Sheriff's deputies and firefighters from Gresham and Corbett responded to the river for a water rescue. The caller reported seeing a man enter the river by himself and begin to struggle. He had gone underwater and had not resurfaced.

Firefighters launched rescue boats and used equipment to scale the steep riverbank. Using a handheld sonar device, the man was found underwater near the Stark Street Bridge and was brought to the surface by American Medical Response lifeguards.

Paramedics transported the man to an area hospital, where he died despite lifesaving attempts. The victim's identity is being withheld until next of kin have been notified.

This was the third major, multiagency water rescue call in the Sandy River in three consecutive days as families continue to flock in droves to the water to beat the hot temperatures. On Wednesday, July 27, a stand-up paddler fell into the water and drowned near Oxbow Park. On Thursday, July 28, a family of three narrowly survived being swept into the current, with all three requiring medical evaluations at the hospital.

Folks headed to the river are urged to be safe and wear a lifejacket, or to stick to Glenn Otto Park in Troutdale where AMR lifeguards are stationed. Lifejackets can be borrowed for free, no identification needed, at Glenn Otto, Dabney, Oxbow, Dodge, and Lewis and Clark parks.

The Sandy River is dangerous year-round, with a rocky river bottom that is uneven and surprisingly deep in some sections. The water is often stronger and colder than nearby rivers because it is fed by glacial runoff from Mount Hood.

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