DORENA, Ore. — The safety of a popular swimming hole is being called into question after a boy drowned there Tuesday afternoon.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says the 16-year-old died after trying to save his 13-year-old brother who had slipped and fell into Wildwood Falls near Dorena.
Rescue crews say the 13-year-old was able to get out of the water safely, but his brother did not.
Search and rescue crew divers were called to the scene to assist. They say they ultimately had to call in a tow truck to help remove a log from the water which had the teen’s body pinned underwater.
Area residents who spend time at the falls every summer say the water is a great spot to cool down, but it shouldn’t be used by everyone.
“You need to be older to swim out here,” said Tanner Herbert, a resident who witnessed Tuesday’s drowning. “People bring their kids out here all the time, but I think it’s really dumb, because there’s weird currents in there and there are just so many things that can go bad in a hurry.”
“I’ve swam here a lot. I’ve dove to the bottom a few times. It’s about 20-25 feet deep. There’s a lot of people who die here. It’s not an uncommon thing,” said resident Gage Herbert.
Locals also suggest people to check out spots before just jumping in and say water shoes may be helpful for the slippery surfaces.
The names of the brothers have not been released. That information is expected to be released as soon as family is notified.