SALEM – Two swimmers were rescued from the banks of the Willamette after they were stranded while trying to cross the river near Keizer Saturday.
The teenage swimmers, ages 13 and 18, were wearing child-sized “floaties” on each arm and began struggling to reach the other side in the river’s currents, said Don Thomson with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
The teens got sucked into a whirlpool and could not get to shore. Sherwin Schnell was nearby and saw the teens struggling so he called 9-1-1.
A marine rescue boat arrived and found the swimmers on the other side of the river. Schnell told rescuers the teens were going to try to swim back through the same area they nearly drowned in but stayed put after he yelled at them.
The teens told deputies they underestimated the current and temperature of the water. Both boys were in good condition and did not need medical attention, Thomson said.
As the summer approaches, the sheriff’s office urges boater and swimmers the wear appropriate floatation devices and be aware of water currents and temperatures. Always bring a friend along for safety.