News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office
Posted: July 9, 2015, 9:55 p.m.
At about 4:58 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, 2015, police and fire rescue units from the Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium responded to the Sandy River outside of the City of Sandy, near the Revenue Bridge on South Ten Eyck Road.
A male teenager had reportedly jumped in the river from the shore. He briefly came to the surface, then went under, and the reporting party could not locate him. Several witnesses searched the waters prior to rescue personnel arriving.
Searchers used rafts and poles to search the water from the surface while divers searched underwater. The water was very muddy due to a recent rain in the area. Searchers described the water as having zero visibility, making search efforts even more difficult.
This area of the Sandy River is in a steep canyon. There are varying depths and strong currents.
At 7:18 p.m., divers located the body of the male in nearly 20 feet of water. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators identified the male as Joshua Michael Hartley, 17 years old, of Winston, Oregon.
Joshua was in Sandy with the Douglas High School football team. They had gone to the river to swim after working in the area for a fundraiser. The team was scheduled to scrimmage with Sandy High School the next day; the scrimmage has been canceled.
Joshua was the first of the team members to jump in the river. He reportedly jumped in headfirst from shore. After he went underwater, other team members jumped in after him; one reported the water was only inches deep where Joshua jumped in. There was shallow water along a ledge for 3-5 feet, then a deeper section. The first team member to go in after him said he hit his knee on a rock when he jumped in; he was not injured.
Douglas High School is in Winston, Oregon, with about 450 students. Joshua would have been a senior this coming year.
The Clackamas County Medical Examiner's Office is investigating the cause of death. The initial investigation shows he likely drowned.
There was no sign of alcohol present on any of the individuals involved in this incident.
The Clackamas Water Rescue Consortium advises anyone swimming or boating in local waterways to always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.
Please reference CCSO Case # 15-18628
Sergeant Nathan Thompson
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office