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Milwaukie man drowns at Meldrum Bar Park

The body of a drowning victim in Medrum Bar Park been located and identified as Thomas Ermini, 53, of Milwaukie.

On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., rescue divers from the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, assisted by the Gladstone and Lake Oswego fire departments, were able to locate the Ermini's body. He had been presumed drowned the night before.

Ermini was found underwater about 50-100 feet from the last point he was seen in the water. His family has been notified and the Clackamas Medical Examiner will be determining the cause of death, which the Gladstone Police Department is investigating the incident as accidental.

On Wednesday at 5 p.m., a Gladstone police officer responded to Meldrum Bar's boat ramp on a report of a vehicle stuck on the bar.

Sgt. Adam Phillips, a sheriff spokesman said it typical for people to fish from their vehicles on the bar.

When the officer arrived, he found a white truck on the bar with two people and two dogs walking towards it, sheriff deputies said.

The people appeared to be fine, deputies said. The officer watched as the truck drove back towards the ramp. The river's high tide was covering a portion of the gravel bar.

When they tried to drive across the water, the officer saw the truck being swept away.

The officer flagged down a nearby fishing boat and asked for help.

The fisherman onboard turned around and were able to rescue a woman who was treading water.

The woman was taken to shore where she was treated, deputies said. The female passenger was identified as Sandra Gracie, 46, of Milwaukie.

The three fisherman who provided critical assistance last night are identified as: Jason Vandercook, 34, Jason Challenger, 36, and Jason Jennings, 38, all residents of West Linn.

By daybreak, one of the two dogs that was with the truck was spotted on the bar barking, walking back and forth. Dive teams rescued the dog and are still looking for the second.

The officer went on board the boat with the fishermen and started looking for the second victim. Crews were not able to find him.

Several marine rescue units were called to the scene and entered the water. Because of darkness and swift moving currents, crews were not able to find the man.

Dive crews from Clackamas County resumed looking for his body at 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

Efforts continue to locate and retrieve the victim's truck with the assistance of an underwater remotely operated vehicle operated by a Multnomah County Sheriff's Office deputy.



Local Weather

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48°F

Clackamas

Cloudy

Humidity: 93%

Wind: 3 mph

  • 31 Oct 2014

    Partly Cloudy 57°F 43°F

  • 1 Nov 2014

    Mostly Cloudy 58°F 44°F