Body of man who jumped in Columbia River to help struggling swimmer recovered

By Alex Hasenstab (OPB)
July 5, 2022 10:33 p.m.

The body of 35-year-old Kevin McDowell was found more than week after he was last seen jumping in the water.

The body of a man who jumped into the Columbia River to help a struggling swimmer in late June has been found.

On Monday evening. the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office River Patrol was dispatched to recover a body from the Columbia River near the western end of Hayden Island. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Officer has identified the person recovered as 35-year-old Kevin McDowell.

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McDowell was last seen on June 26. Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office River Patrol Unit deputies responded to a report of a missing swimmer near the west end of Lemon Island in the Columbia River. Witnesses reported that McDowell did not resurface after jumping into the water from a boat to help a woman in the water who was struggling to swim. It was reported that he was not wearing a life jacket. The woman was able to get to safety.

In this supplied photo, a Multnomah County Sheriff's Office diver prepares to enter the Columbia River on June 27, 2022. Search and rescue teams were searching for a missing swimmer after he jumped in the river to help a person struggling in the water.

In this supplied photo, a Multnomah County Sheriff's Office diver prepares to enter the Columbia River on June 27, 2022. Search and rescue teams were searching for a missing swimmer after he jumped in the river to help a person struggling in the water.

Courtesy of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

Firefighters from Portland Fire & Rescue and the Port of Portland Fire Department helped deputies perform a series of searches in the days after McDowell presumably drowned. Rescuers reported that challenging conditions, with limited underwater visibility and strong currents, delayed the recovery efforts.

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