Portland man, 22, drowns in Clackamas River

Man went underwater in area where Clackamas and Willamette Rivers meet

The 22-year-old went underwater in area where Clackamas and Willamette Rivers meet, June 9, 2015. (CCSO)
The 22-year-old went underwater in area where Clackamas and Willamette Rivers meet, June 9, 2015. (CCSO)

GLADSTONE, Ore. (KOIN) — A 22-year-old swimmer passed away Tuesday evening after he went underwater at Meldrum Bar Park, officials said.

The man was swimming in a fairly shallow area of the Clackamas River when he began to struggle, Gladstone Fire Dept. said. Initial reports indicated he was attempting to swim across the Clackamas River from Clackamette Park to Dahl Beach.

The man’s cousin reportedly saw him go under and tried to help, but was unsuccessful.

Rescue crews entered the water and were able to locate the victim in 15 minutes. Responders on the scene performed CPR, but were not able to revive him.

Brallan Guadalupe Vega Palma, 22 years old, of Portland was pronounced dead on the scene.

Unlike other recent drownings, this incident had less to do with water temperature and more to do with the strength of the swimmer, officials said.

“We’re dealing with water that’s around 70 degrees, so you don’t get that immersion,” Sgt. Nate Thompson said. “But a long time in that water does affect swimmers and it does make it difficult to swim, not to mention there’s a strong current in the Clackamas River. It’s important for people to take note of these strong currents when you’re swimming in these rivers.”

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