Monday, July 9, 2012

Crews pull man's body from Rock River in Oregon

A holiday escape turns into tragedy after police recover the body of a Chicago man who fell into the Rock River. He went into the river on the Fourth of July while fishing just below the Oregon dam. That area is considered a very dangerous spot.

"First weekend when we opened here 5 years ago they had a drowning here too. Same exact circumstances as yesterday," says O.K. Welty.

He is the sales manager at Rock River Outfitters which sells bait to many people fishing on the water.
Oregon Police say Reyes Perez, 37, was walking in the river with waders on. He tried to cross from one island to another and was pulled under. Rescuers searched for him all day on the Fourth of July. They didn't find him until Thursday morning.

"Right in front of the dam there is a large hole that's about 50 feet deep. There is a back flow in that area. And at the bottom I have been told there is debris down there. It's very dangerous so once you go in there, particularly if you are wearing waders, the likelihood of you coming back up is very remote," says Jim Coutts, Oregon Park District executive director.

Reyes' death is the fourth near the dam since 2007. It's why the Oregon Park District has danger signs posted. Coutts say his workers also warn people about the danger of going into the river. But he says because of the number of game fish near the dam it attracts a lot of out-of-towners that area who may not realize how danger the area really is.

"Unfortunately people come here and they see that it is shallow and feel that the entire river is shallow but they are so unfamiliar with the back-tow and what this dam does to the bottom of the river that we would definitely encourage everyone to stay out of that area," says Coutts.

The park district says the safest ways to fish near the dam are in a boat or to stay on the riverbank.