Vancouver Fire Dept.
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News Release
Vancouver Fire Department responds to possible drowning at Frenchman's Bar - 07/18/21

At 5:46 PM Sunday evening, the Vancouver Fire Department responded to 9612 NW Lower River Rd (Frenchman’s Bar) in Vancouver for reports of a possible drowning in the Columbia River. VFD’s Truck 1 arrived within 11 minutes and immediately initiated water rescue operations with firefighters donning life jackets and using long pike poles. Responding crews also requested the Vancouver Technical Rescue Team as well as the Vancouver Fire Boat to assist. Other resources that responded and assisted on scene included: A Vancouver Battalion Chief, the Portland Fire Bureau Boat (FB 17), the Multnomah County and Clark County Sheriff’s Boat, AMR and VPD. The Coast Guard was also notified. Witnesses called 911 after an adult male in his early 20’s went under the water about 15 feet from the shore and did not reappear. Friends told crews on scene that he was not a strong swimmer and he was not wearing a life jacket. While fire and EMS crews were responding there was a large, but unsuccessful, effort by civilian personnel to try to locate the victim. Rescue swimmers performed a coordinated grid search while the rescue boats conducted “drag” operations and searched the river using radar. After about an hour, crews on scene shifted from rescue to recovery operations. Crews on scene searched for the victim in the river and performed water rescue operations for over 2 hours. At the time of this press release, the victim had not yet been found. The scene was turned over to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office to continue dive operations.

The Vancouver Fire Department recommends that its citizens wear a life jacket for safety. We also want to warn beach goers that local river currents can still be deceivingly strong.

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