Marine Unit rescues two overcome by cold, fatigue while trying to swim across Willamette River; CCSO urges safety

News Release from: Clackamas Co. Sheriff's Office

Posted: June 28, 2016, 11:45 a.m.


CCSO urges cold-water caution, personal floatation devices

River enforcement archive photos: [ 1 ] [ 2 ]

River enforcementAt around 1:38 p.m. on Monday, June 27, 2016, the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a swimmer struggling in the water at Dahl Beach, in the Clackamas River at the mouth of the Willamette River in Gladstone.

The call soon became more complicated than that.

The 911 caller had told dispatch that a woman who was not wearing a life jacket was struggling to stay afloat. The woman had called back to her friends saying she couldn't move -- and she was reportedly going under the surface of the water.

Marine Unit Sgt. Thoroughman and Deputy Griffith quickly responded by boat to the location where the woman was last sighted.

They soon observed a woman who appeared to be struggling in the water, later identified as Angel Clyde, age 22. The deputies threw her a Type-4 throwable flotation device, grabbed her arm and led her to the back of the boat, pulling her onto the swim deck of the boat before placing her inside the passenger seating area.

Sgt. Thoroughman then maneuvered the boat and located a second person in apparent distress -- later identified as a 16-year-old girl.

Sgt. Thoroughman maneuvered the boat to the second subject, who had made it to a rock near the shoreline.

Deputy Griffith grabbed her arms and asked her to climb on board the swim deck. The girl told deputies she was too weak to climb onboard -- so Deputy Griffith lifted her onboard by grabbing her wrists.

Once all parties were safely inside the boat's passenger seating area, Sgt. Thoroughman drove the boat across the river to awaiting medical personnel.

Deputies learned the two women had been attempting to swim across the river when the 16-year-old subject began struggling due to the effects of the cold water. The girl began to shout for help while having a hard time swimming; she finally made it to the rock -- but was then unable to stand or move due to cold and exhaustion once she reached it. Ms. Clyde was also reportedly getting tired by the time Marine deputies arrived on scene and retrieved her from the water.

Ms. Clyde was cold but otherwise uninjured. AMR checked the 16-year-old for injuries and contacted her parents in Seattle.

The Sheriff's Office wants to remind swimmers: The water is colder than you think. Underestimating river temperature has led to several tragic drownings on county waterways in recent years. Don't let poor judgment turn you into a sad statistic. Anyone swimming or boating in local waterways should always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device.

You can find additional water-safety tips here.


News-release archive

Contact Info:
Sergeant Brian Jensen
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office