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Bystanders save boy from drowning at McKercher Park
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Bystanders save boy from drowning at McKercher Park

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A 10-year-old boy got his leg stuck in rapids in the Calapooia River at McKercher Park on Saturday afternoon, but he was saved from drowning by at least 10 bystanders who held him above the water, according to a news release from the Sweet Home Fire District.

Sweet Home Fire District was dispatched to the incident at the Crawfordsville-area park at 4:21 p.m., and responded from the scene of a motor vehicle crash at the Foster Dam.

Residents at McKercher Park were aided by multiple units from the Oregon Department of Forestry, deputies from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and Brownsville Fire District personnel.

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These agencies had personnel on scene until the boy was finally extricated from the water at 5:23 p.m.

“This was a complicated and challenging rescue which would not have been possible were it not for the quick thinking and selfless acts of many civilians who were in the right place at the right time and so willing to render aid,” states the news release from the Sweet Home Fire District.

“The rescue required the work of everyone involved and one lucky little boy went home tonight thanks to a joint effort by so many people and agencies. The patient is doing well with his parents tonight after being evaluated and re-warmed in the ambulance,” the Saturday night news release continued.

“We would like to thank all of the civilians involved. You have once again proven that our community is full of good people and we are proud to serve you,” the Sweet Home Fire District news release added.

The agency reminded people to be cautious when floating rivers in the mid-Willamette Valley, and to remember to wear personal floatation devices. If you are floating a river, the safest way to do so is with your feet pointed downstream and your toes up. Watch for strainers such as downed trees or other debris, and never float with anything tied to you such as a cooler or other object.

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