A KOIN 6 news crew was expecting to watch Portland Fire & Rescue’s (PF&R) dive team take part in a routine training exercise on the Columbia River. However, a real emergency call on the river came in before the training could begin. A caller had reported seeing a woman jump from the bridge into the Columbia River.
PF&R’s Dive Team raced to the base of the I-205 bridge on the Rescue Boat with the KOIN 6 news crew on board. PF&R’s Fireboat 17 was also in route to the scene.
PF&R’s Rescue Boat arrived first on-scene and attempted to set a single anchor so a quick dive could be conducted. However, the current was running fast and swung the Rescue Boat out of position. The crew of the Rescue Boat radioed communication of the river’s conditions to the crew of Fireboat 17. Fireboat 17 arrived just as the crew of the Rescue Boat began to place two anchors in the river for stabilization.
Fireboat 17 set two anchors at the scene and then lowered the divers into position. The divers searched for an hour and half in approximately 10 feet of water. A Coast Guard helicopter assisted with searching the surface water and shoreline. The woman has not been found.
Portland Fire & Rescue has an average of eight divers on duty every day for water emergencies.
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