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Near-Drowning In Marion County Prompts Water Safety Reminders

Marion County Sheriff's Department

The hot weather, along with the cool rivers and ocean, can be a deadly combination in the Northwest.  The near-drowning of a child in Oregon is a good reminder to practice water safety.

On Monday, an 8-year-old boy was swimming in Butte Creek in Scotts Mills Park. Marion County Sheriff Sergeant Chris Baldridge says the older brother and aunt were also in the water.

Sgt. Baldridge: "Apparently the 8-year-old began struggling; he got caught in some kind of like swirling pool of water. He started to become very tired, swallowing some water, so his 12-year-old brother swam out to assist him. Fortunately they were both able to make it back to shore."

Sgt. Baldridge says the aunt, Connie Kitchen, called 911. The 8-year-old was evaluated at Silverton Hospital. He says this could have ended much differently, and drowning happens every summer. Baldridge says forethought can make a big difference.

Sgt. Baldridge: "If you're swimming, and you're out in that open water, make sure that you know how to swim well. Especially for those inexperienced swimmers, make sure they have those U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket; make sure they're wearing them properly."

But he says it's important to not rely on life jackets alone. It's no substitute for vigilant adult supervision.