Baltazar Tellovelasco, 29, of Oxnard, Calif., was visiting the Little North Fork of the Santiam River, a popular recreational area located in Marion County, Ore., with his family Thursday. Witnesses said he went into the water to save his 12-year-old daughter when it looked like she was drowning. The girl made it out alive, but her father drowned.
Emergency crews were called at 2:09 p.m. when Tellovelasco went underwater and did not resurface, Portland's FOX 12 reported. People were able to pull Tellovelasco from the river before first responders arrived. EMS tried to resuscitate the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The water at the Little North Fork of the Santiam River is normally cold, swift and can be deeper than anticipated by swimmers, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. Cell reception is also severely limited at the recreational area. Visitors must rely on two 9-1-1 call boxes for emergencies—one at the Elk Horn Fire Station, another at the entrance to Salmon Falls Park.
The sheriff’s office recommends visitors never swim alone, avoid alcohol and marijuana around the water, wear lifejackets, know how to perform CPR and know how and where to call 9-1-1.