At 1:41 pm today, Portland Fire was dispatched to reports of a man struggling in the water along the East Bank Esplanade. According to bystanders, the man suddenly entered the water and started swimming towards the public dock about 75 feet away. After several minutes of slow progress, he began to struggle and submerge. At that time a bicyclist who had stopped for a break on a bench that overlooked the river undressed to his underwear and swam out to the man. Another bystander called 9-1-1, starting firefighters from Station 21, which was only a few hundred feet down the walking path, and water rescue crews from across the river at Station 1. Kevin Pratt, of Milwaukie swam to the victim and began swimming back toward the shore with him. Once on land, he and another bystander, Isaac Bruder of Portland, determined he was pulse-less and not breathing and immediately began CPR. PF&R Crews arrived shortly after, evaluated and began treatment before transferring him to a waiting am bulance for transport.
Bravery and quick actions by the two bystanders positively affected the outcome of this incident.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds citizens that the waterways in Portland during the winter months are cold enough that hypothermia can set in within minutes. hypothermia is that it develops gradually, and since it affects thinking and reasoning, and at its worst it may go unnoticed until you lose brain function or go into cardiac arrest.
The patient is listed in serious condition at Legacy Emanuel Hospital.