EUGENE, Ore. – A 21-year-old member of the University of Oregon tennis team who went to Cleveland High School in Portland drowned Saturday after jumping into Blue Pool on the McKenzie River.
Alex Rovello did not surface after hitting the water with his face and upper chest after jumping from a 60-foot cliff, witnesses told Deputies.
Friends and bystanders tried to save Rovello but were unsuccessful because of the deep, 37-degree water, said Sgt. Dave Lawler with the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.
A witness had to run more than two miles to get cell service to call 9-1-1. Dive teams and deputies recovered Rovello’s body more than 30 feet from the surface of Blue Pool.
The popular swimming hole is on Highway 126 about two miles north of Trail Bridge Campground. Deputies said alcohol was not a factor in the drowning.
“Alex was so much more than a dedicated and exemplary student-athlete at the University of Oregon,” Director of Athletics Rob Mullens said on goducks.com. “He was a son, a friend, a teammate, a leader, whose warm personality brought everyone together and whose contributions to the extended Oregon community will resonate long after today. On behalf of the UO family, we extend our sympathies to Alex’s family, and we will honor his memory each and every day.”
The family has planned a memorial service for Saturday May 18th.