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Man likely drowned trying to rescue child at reservoir

The man has been identified as Kevin Carlile, 38, of Junction City.

Posted: Jun 29, 2021 7:41 AM
Updated: Jun 29, 2021 11:50 AM

FERN RIDGE, Ore. – The man who went missing at Fern Ridge Reservoir on Monday is presumed to have drowned.

Kevin Carlile, 38, of Junction City, was boating with his wife and two children early Monday afternoon when one of the children ended up in the water without a life jacket. Carlile and his wife jumped into the water to help the child, but high winds and rough water made it difficult for them to get back into the boat. Carlile’s wife and the two children were eventually able to make it to shore safely.

Carlile was last seen about 150 yards from shore near the dam on the north side of the reservoir. He is not believed to have been wearing a life jacket at the time.

"The safest course of action is to always wear a life jacket, because when an emergency happens, oftentimes you don't have time to retrieve it and put it on," said Sgt. Tom Speldrich of the Lane County Sheriff's Office. "Children definitely should be wearing life jackets when they're out there recreating on the water. We just ask people to be cautious and to pay attention to conditions and just to be safe."

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue personnel and dive team are continuing to actively search for Carlile. They say it is now presumed to be a recovery operation.

The second day of searching began Tuesday morning at about 6:30 a.m. when the search and rescue boat and canine unit left Orchard Point Marina and Boat Ramp. Search and Rescue officials are expecting calmer conditions throughout the day to aid in their efforts.

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