Bystander helps save youths from drowning

POLK COUNTY — On Thursday, Polk County Fire District No.1 responded to Riverview Park on a report of a possible water rescue with multiple juveniles in the river, Fire Chief Ben Stange in a press release.

When the fire district arrived, three juveniles were on shore next to the river. They had been in the Willamette River when they were caught by an eddy overpowering them, Stange said.

They called for help multiple times at which point a bystander swam into the river to rescue them. The bystander coached one of the three to swim back to shore, and put the other two on his back and swam them back to shore, Stange said.

One of the juveniles had been submerged multiple times and was transported to the hospital for evaluation.

The event on Thursday took place in the same location where a boy and his adult brother drowned in 2008, Stange said.

On Friday, a boy went missing while swimming in the Willamette in Salem. One year ago this week, the Monmouth/Independence community was shaken when a Central High School student, Cody Watson, drowned while swimming in a river in Central Oregon, Stange said in the release.

Fire officials are reminding people to use extreme caution near the water. There are life preservers available for use free of charge at Riverview Park in Independence and at the Independence boat dock.

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