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Civilians Keep Trapped Child From Drowning In McKercher Park

Brian Bull

The aid of at least ten bystanders helped keep a child from drowning Saturday near Brownsville.  

Sweet Home Fire District was sent to a water rescue at McKercher Park in the late afternoon. Dispatch got a report that a ten-year-old boy got his leg trapped in the rapids of the Calapooia River.  Bystanders helped keep the boy above water, while units responded from several agencies, including Oregon Department of Forestry, the Linn County Sherrif's Office, and units from Brownsville Fire.  

After an hour, the boy was freed from the rapids, then taken to an ambulance to be evaluated and warmed up. He was returned to his parents and is now safe at home.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Sweet Home emergency responders at the scene of a traffic accident near Foster Dam. No sooner had they begun clearing the scene than they learned of a boy trapped in the rapids at McKercher Park.

"This was a complicated and challenging rescue which would not have been possible were it not for the quick thinking and selfless acts of many civilians who were in the right place at the right time and so willing to render aid," said a release issued from Sweet Home Fire District Saturday evening.  

Sweet Home units had responded to the incident right after a multi-car crash near the Foster Dam that same afternoon.

In the release, Sweet Home authorities also thanked all responders and bystanders. They reminded people to be cautious when floating the rivers, by avoiding debris or obstacles including fallen trees. 

They also advised recreationists to wear personal flotation devices, but to never float with anything tied to them like a cooler.   

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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