The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Two men still missing from Saturday swim

 

August 11, 2022



A search and rescue for two young men who went missing during a swim in the Columbia River at Skamokawa Vista Park on Saturday has now become a search and recovery.

Ismael and Elmer Lopez, both of Longview, were camping with friends and families at Vista Park over the weekend. According to the first press release from the Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office, three men in their mid-20s were swimming when dispatch received a report at 12:04 p.m. that the men were out of sight.

The Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office launched their boat, and the Cathlamet ambulance, Skamokawa emergency personnel, Wahkiakum Search and Rescue, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington State Patrol, and Hobie Cat enthusiasts who were racing over the weekend at Vista Park responded to the scene.

One man survived after being pulled from the river by a civilian on the beach.

The Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s Office will continue to search the riverbank and the open water for the two men in coming days.

The sheriff’s office would like to thank all responders and community members for their help and remind everyone of the dangerous nature of the Columbia River. They ask that people wear a life jacket while swimming anywhere without lifeguards or whenever in a boat, personal watercraft or inner tube, and to avoid swimming in a dangerous area such as fast flowing rivers.

Sam Shogren, manager of Port District 2 and Vista Park, echoed those comments before the county board of commissioners on Tuesday, thanking the officers, first responders, and citizens who joined the rescue effort and suggesting there be formal recognition of responders' efforts.

A woman on the beach risked her life to try to save the swimmers, he said, and she was able to bring one to the beach.

The Hobie Cat association's rescue boats took off immediately, he said, and people there comforted members of the missing men's families.

 

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