April 22, 2012
At 3:40 am Portland Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched to the Willamette River on a report of a man screaming for help just down river from the Morrison Bridge. Firefighters from Station 1 (oldtown) arrived shortly thereafter to find the 25 year old male clinging to the seawall. After getting the patient a life ring to keep him afloat, crews from the Eldon Trinity Rescue Boat at Station 21 quickly pulled the man out of the water.
Firefighters wrapped the man in warm blankets and helped transport him with AMR ambulance to Emanuel hospital. "The water temperature was around 43 degrees so hypothermia was a major concern." said Fire Captain Greg Espinosa, commander of the incident.
The patient said that he had just got to portland a couple of days ago and was looking for a place to sleep near the water when he slipped and fell into the river. He tried to get out of the river but there was no place to exit... just a 30 foot seawall.
Portland Fire & Rescue reminds the public that even though the sunshine is here, the spring snow run off in our rivers can keep temperatures between 43 and 50 degrees. Hypothermia can take over in minutes, causing clumsiness, confusion and even slurred speech. Doctors also check for shivering, a weak pulse, low blood pressure and a body temperature below 96 degrees F (normal body temperature is 98.6 F).
Note: At 4:47am an unrelated river incident kept our fireboats busy when fishermen reported an unattended jet ski floating down the river under the broadway bridge. Firefighters picked up the jet ski and took it to a local station for storage. Portland Police and Multnomah County sheriffs are trying to locate the owner.