MARION CO., Ore. (KOIN) — A 17-year-old died Monday night after he was pulled from the water at Salmon Falls Park in Marion County, officials said.
“I can’t get it off my mind,” 24-year-old Marshall McCreery said. “I’m sick to my stomach.”
McCreery said he wishes he could have done more, as he delivered a pair of shoes to KOIN 6 News he believes belonged to the victim. later identified as Blayk Wallace.
“I just wanted to bring them over to you guys, if you guys know who his family is you can get back to them,” he said. “So they can have his final footsteps kind of thing.”
It was supposed to be a day of fun at Salmon Falls Park in Marion County when things took a tragic turn for the worse.
“We got here and sat up top where everyone is… and like 2 minutes after we got here a girl started screaming saying there’s a guy drowning,” McCreery said.
The 24-year-old said he didn’t know the group of teens in the water, but he dove in and swam over, checking underwater for the struggling teen. But the bottom was deep, and McCreery said he quickly began to run out of air.
“I saw his body down at the bottom,” McCreery explained. “So I came back up and caught my breath.”
McCreery said that’s when he and his friend Dan Kinnison decided to dive down together.
“We got down to him and grabbed him, and then Dan grabbed my arm and we pulled him up and got his head above water,” he said.
From there, the 2 men pulled the teen to shore. That’s when McCreery said he began CPR.
“I didn’t even know what to do, we just, I know what CPR looks like so I started doing it,” McCreery said. “Pumping and blowing into his mouth.”
Other bystanders left the park in search of cell service to call 911. Meanwhile, McCreery and others continued CPR. Witnesses said about 45 minutes later, paramedics arrived and took the 17-year-old to a nearby hospital.
Later Monday night, authorities revealed Wallace had passed away. He was a recent graduate of West Salem High School.
“If the family does see this or anything, I’m sorry, and it weighs really heavy on my heart because I didn’t know what to do, we tried everything we could,” McCreery said.
KOIN 6 News gave the shoes to a Marion County Sheriff’s deputy to get them to the victim’s family.
Authorities said Tuesday alcohol did not play a role in Wallace’s death.