Southern Oregon University student dies during trip to the coast

Update: We’re learning more about the Southern Oregon University student who lost his life on the coast this weekend. One friend tells NBC5 News Alex Howell was set to head to Georgia for military officer training, and that he was a member of the Oregon National Guard, second lieutenant.

Friends say Howell was committed to his goals, and very active. He’d been a part of the wrestling team at Southern Oregon University. The coach says he’ll be honored at a home duel on February 6th at 1 PM at Ashland high school.

Friends say he loved to hike and snowboard, that he was a genuine and humble young man who was loved by many, and a very caring friend.
alex howell 2Curry County, Ore. — A Southern Oregon University student died while swimming in the Pacific Ocean Saturday.

It happened at Whaleshead Beach State Park in Curry County. Oregon State Police said 23-year-old Ashland man Alexander Howell was swimming about 75 yards from shore with his friend 22-year-old Medford man Alex Smith.

A heavy surf and strong current separated the two. Smith made it back to shore, but he and other friends were unable to find Howell. Eventually they found him unresponsive on the beach.

Police said friends called 911 and performed CPR until Curry County Search and Rescue, sheriff’s department, and the Coast Guard arrived on scene. Howell was taken to Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach for advanced life support. He was declared deceased at the hospital.

Police said Howell and Smith were part of a group that traveled over from the Ashland area to visit the coast.


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