California father drowns in Oregon river after trying to help his daughter

Virginia Barreda
A California man drowned Thursday afternoon after he jumped in the Santiam River to save his daughter in Marion County.

SALEM, Ore. - A California man drowned Thursday afternoon after he jumped in the Santiam River near Lyons to help his daughter.

Emergency officials responded around 2 p.m. to North Fork Park along the Little North Fork of the river amid reports that a swimmer went underwater and didn't resurface, according to Sgt. Jeremy Landers, a spokesman with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. 

Witnesses at the river were able to take the man out of the water before first responders arrived. 

Officials tried to resuscitate the man, identified as Baltazar Tellovelasco, 29, of Oxnard, California, but he died at the scene, Landers said.

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Tellovelasco had gone into the water to help his 12-year-old daughter, who appeared to be in distress. She was able to make it out safely, but Tellovelasco did not return to shore. 

The Little North Fork of the Santiam River is a popular recreational area in the Santiam Canyon. Even on warm days, the water remains cold, swift and can be deeper than anticipated by swimmers, sheriff's office deputies said. 

Here are some safety tips for swimmers from the sheriff's office:

  • Never swim alone
  • Avoid alcohol and marijuana around the water
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Know how to perform CPR
  • Know how and where you can call 911

Visitors should be aware there is little to no cellphone reception in the North Fork area of the Santiam River, according to sheriff's office authorities. There are two 911 call boxes on the outside wall of the Elkhorn Fire Station and at the entrance to Salmon Falls Park.

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This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: California man drowns in Oregon river after trying to help daughter