ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN) — Divers recovered the body of an 18-year-old man who went under the water while swimming Wednesday at Milo McIver State Park.
He has been identified as 18-year-old Brandt Hatch, from Newberg. Hatch attended Newberg High School, where he was on the robotics team.
Search and rescue crews were initially called to the scene at 5 p.m. for a water rescue.
Witnesses told first responders the teen and his friends tried swimming across the Clackamas River without personal flotation devices. Two of them made it to shore.
Hatch was reportedly underwater for about 10 minutes before rescue crews arrived, deputies said. Divers began a recovery mission a short time later.
His body was recovered and taken to shore within an hour.
There will be a candle light vigil for Brandt Hatch Friday in Newberg.
Even though it’s hot outside, the water is still dangerously cold, only 57 degrees.
“The cold water definitely [made it] harder for them to swim,” Richard Anderson with Estacada Fire Dept. said. “It’s a little bit of a shock to the body to be getting into that cold of water. It makes everything that they are doing… a little bit harder.”
After an event like Hatch’s death, and with the holiday weekend coming up, water rescue crews urge the public to be aware of the importance of life preservers and water temperatures.
Even the best swimmers are susceptible to those dangers. In a fast-moving river like the Clackamas, life vests are vital.
Clackamas County Sheriff Mark Nikolai shared more important water safety tips, including sticking with your group.
“Be with them and always let people know where you’re going to be, shouting distance at a minimum,” Nicolai said.
He also wants to remind people that alcohol, cold water and exertion don’t mix.