ESTACADA, Ore. – A rescue effort is continuing to try and find a 6-year-old Portland girl who was swept into the Clackamas River Sunday afternoon, according to Clackamas County Fire and Rescue.
The girl’s father, Igor Snegur, said his family was playing in the snow near the river when his daughter, Vinesa Snegur, fell in and was swept away near Austin Hot Springs, dispatch said. The incident took place at about 3 p.m. Snegur raced along the river but could not keep up with his daughter in the current.
The family had no cell phone service where she fell into the water and had to drive nearly an hour to the Ripple Brook ranger station to call for help. At the time of the call, Vinesa had been missing for one hour.
"It was just a second of inattention," said Sgt. James Rhodes with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. "He turned away. Then, splash, and she fell in. He ran and tried to keep up with her, but he was unable to."
Austin Hot Springs is approximately 30 miles southeast of Estacada. Rescue crews went to the scene Sunday night but later said the long delay in getting to the scene because of the distance involved meant there was not much they could do but search the area.
The girl's mother is distraught, according to Larry Miller with Northwest Land Management. Miller assisted in the initial search for the girl and talked with her mother. "We're trying to keep her calmed down," Miller said.
A National Guard helicopter using thermal search equipment flew over the area for a brief time but had to land due to the weather. Over a dozen searchers stayed in the area all night and searched the river.
The search continues Monday.