FALL CREEK, Ore. (KMTR) -- The Lane County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the male victim who allegedly drowned Thursday morning after he jumped off a rock wall, hit his head and fell into the water at Fall Creek Reservoir.
17-year-old Ethan Wyatt Braden of Minnesota died in the incident. His body was recovered underwater on Thursday afternoon, several hours after he fell. The drowning happened just after 10 AM on Thursday, July 5, 2012, on the north side of the reservoir.
Sheriff’s deputies reported Braden was with a group of about ten friends, most between the ages of 20 and 30 years old, near an area of the reservoir where a rocky wall / slope meets the water.
Witnesses told deputies that Braden jumped off a 25- to 30-foot-tall ledge, hit his head on some rocks and then hit the water. Witnesses stated Braden then sank into the water on impact and wasn’t seen conscious again.
A three-man volunteer Lane County Search and Rescue dive team began searching for the Braden’s body around 1 PM on Thursday afternoon. The body was located just before 3 PM about 54 feet below the surface.
Lane County Search and Rescue Coordinator John Miller told NewsSource 16 that the area where the drowning happened is rough and remote. Rescuers had to travel across the lake to get to the site of the incident, launching from the Winberry Boat Landing.
"It's pretty remote; it's designed for primitive camping and hiking and road access, and we're basically at the bottom of a very steep probably 50-degree hillside with a prominent rocky cliff right in the middle of it, with no trail access and no road access,” said Miller.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office said it is still investigating whether or not alcohol was a factor. The incident is the third drowning of the 2012 summer in Lane County, already surpassing the number of people who drowned in Lane County in 2011.
Last year, a 59-year-old fisherman from Eugene, Warren Moran Jr., drowned in March after his boat overturned in the McKenzie River. Then in August, a 25-year-old Creswell woman, Paola Kilday, drowned when he inner tube overturned and she got caught in a log jam.
Deputies said the 4th of July marks the start of the busy season on the water. They’re urging everyone now to consider safety even more.
"I don't believe that we respond to too terribly many calls like this out in this area but it is summertime and we have a lot of people recreating in the area, certainly at our state and county parks, and is something to be aware of that the water can be a dangerous place,” said Sergeant Carrie Carver of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
The other two drowning incidents this year both occurred on the Sunday, June 17, 2012. A 40-year-old Oakridge man, Allen R. McGill, drowned while swimming in the Willamette River near Beltline Road and a 68-year-old fisherman from Washington state, Edwin Rutkowski, drowned on the McKenzie River when his boat overturned near Marten’s Rapids. Neither person was wearing a life jacket.