An Oregon teen who did not know how to swim was listed in critical condition Tuesday after being under water for more than 30 minutes, officials said.
Cesar Campuzano, 15, was rescued by the Newberg Dive Rescue team and the sheriff’s marine patrol Monday evening, after he leaped into the river at Rogers Landing, Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. Tim Svenson said.
“What happened was basically they [Campuzano and some friends] were down on the dock and they were all in the water, they knew he couldn’t swim and he said he couldn’t,” Svenson said. “They thought he was joking, and as they were getting out he jumped in.”
Svenson said three teenage boys tried to retrieve Campuzano out of the water but he kept crawling over them, proving too heavy to be lifted out of the water.
“They immediately got out and called 9-1-1,” he said. “When they called he had been under three minutes.”
Law enforcement personnel were on the scene within 10 minutes, but it took 20 minutes for the fire department’s rescue dive team to get there, he said.
“It took 20 minutes for for the fire department to get to the station, to get a boat and the appropriate personnel — people equipped to dive,” he said. “Also there are part-time/volunteer members and we were waiting for them to assemble, because many had just been given off of work or were called in. As soon as the fire department heard the call that was the quickest they could get together.”
Authorities were able to locate Campuzano nine minutes after arriving — totaling about 30 minutes he was completely submerged, Svenson said.
“I know when they arrived he was unresponsive, but we can’t confirm if he was breathing or not at the time,” Svenson said. “They immediately started CPR and put him in an ambulance, and they hit his chest with the AED to shock him back and when I showed up there around 7:05 p.m. they loaded him up and took him straight up to Portland.”
Campuzano was airlifted to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.
Megan Vidal, spokeswoman for the hospital, declined to comment beyond saying there was “no new information about the patient at this time.”
Yamhill County Sheriff Jack Crabtree cautioned swimmers as the onset of summer approaches.
“Swimming with lifejackets may seem restrictive but they really do save lives,” he said. “Rivers pose risks that need to be considered even by the best of swimmers. Our hearts and prayers are with the Campuzano family and friends.”
Svenson said no foul play is suspected, and that it will take a couple of days to assess Campuzano’s condition from being under the water.