Local agencies highlighting water safety after 7-yr old drowns in Eagle Point

EAGLE POINT, Ore. —Police continue to look into the cause, behind the tragic death of a seven-year-old child in Eagle Point, over the weekend. Law enforcement has been tight-lipped so far about what happened late Saturday afternoon. But the Jackson County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol Division, says it sees an average of about 250 water rescues a summer. This, was its first fatality of the year.

The sheriff’s office is not yet releasing any details about the 7-year-old child who died Saturday at this time, out of respect for the family.  But as the community mourns the devastating loss, agencies are reminding you how to stay safe on the water. A Saturday afternoon on the water turned tragic in Eagle Point.

“This is the first fatality on the water we’ve had this year,” said Sgt. Shawn Richards with Jackson County Search & Rescue.

Jackson County Search and Rescue and Jackson County Fire District 3, both responded to the seven-hundred block of Brownsboro Highway in Eagle Point, around 3:30 Saturday afternoon. It says two children were swimming near the dam when the seven-year-old went missing.

Crews then began searching for the child, and later found them 200-yards downstream.  They were taken to the hospital, where they later died.

“It’s an absolute tragedy, our hearts go out to the family,” said Sgt. Richards.

Sgt. Shawn Richards has been working with the sheriff’s office for 12 years, this is the first time he’s responded to the Butte Creek area.

“The main thing when it comes to water sports period, whether it be swimming boating you name it, number one thing is to wear a life jacket,” he said.

With the warmer temperatures, his team sees an increase in people hitting the water, but the condition of the water can still be a challenge to swimmers.

“Especially this time of year where water temperatures are still in the low 50’s it’s very easy to get hypothermic so having that life jacket on allows you to self rescue yourself and get to shore,” said Sgt. Richards.

Jackson County Fire District 3’s Water Rescue Team works with neighboring departments to help with rescues on open water or on the Rogue River.

Fire Marshall John Patterson says drownings can happen within minutes.

“There’s a risk of drowning in even very shallow water, especially for infants children preteens young adults where the pressure and the force of the water can be way more than they can withstand,” said Patterson.

The two recommend being familiar with the area, never go alone, have adult supervision with children, and most importantly wear a life jacket.

“Paying attention to your surroundings paying attention to the people who are with you when you’re out enjoying the weather just really being cognizant and present in the moment when people are in the water,” said Patterson

The community is hosting a candle-lit vigil Wednesday to honor the child.

It’ll be in the area of the Butte Creek Mill and begins at 9 pm.

This remains a developing story.  Stick with NBC5-news, as we continue to learn more.


NBC5 News Reporter Jenna King is a Burbank native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at the U of O, she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through interning with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors, or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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