Girl's raft flips on Sandy River, dad rushes in; both die

Girl's raft flips on Sandy River, dad rushes in; both die

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A 7-year-old girl whose raft overturned on the Sandy River and her father who rushed in to save her both died despite efforts from emergency rescuers Tuesday night.

The first call came in to emergency responders at 8:23 p.m., said Chris Liedle, the communications director for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. “Deputies, first responders, Gresham firefighters flooded the area and attempted to search for the two missing swimmers” near the Stark Street Bridge downstream of Dabney State Park outside of Troutdale.

The father was found first and pulled from the water, he said.

“Within about 10 minutes of receiving the first 911 call, deputies were able to locate an adult male, who was unconscious,” said Liedle. Deputies performed CPR until medics arrived, and he was taken to the hospital.

Emergency responders pulled a man from the Sandy River at Dabney State Park but the search for a missing child continues, July 20, 2021 (KOIN)

About 30 minutes later, officials said they found the child in the Sandy River. Leidle said deputies learned the girl was floating down the river when her raft overturned.

“Her dad attempted to rescue her and unfortunately both did not resurface and family and friends were unable to find him and the girl,” he said.

Around 9:40 pm., he said, deputies found the girl, performed CPR and rushed her to the hospital.

Both the father and daughter were pronounced dead at the hospital, officials said later. Their names have not been released.

“It’s believed that neither of them were wearing life jackets,” Liedle said. “We cannot stress enough that life jackets save lives. They may not be cool. They are available for free at the major swimming areas.”

He added it’s the 3rd major water rescue call in recent weeks in this area, and the second at Dabney State Park this month.

“We considered the Sandy River as one of the the most dangerous rivers,” he said. “It’s glacial runoff, primarily coming from Mount Hood, it’s cold, fast and has a rocky bottom.”

Specially trained volunteers with Trauma Intervention Program responded and provided emotional aid, support and resources to the victim’s family, officials said.

“These calls weigh a lot on our staff, our deputies, our firefighters,” Liedle said. “We ask people to keep thoughts and prayers with family and staff as well.”

(KOIN)
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