SCOTTS MILLS, Ore. - A 12-year-old boy saved his 8-year-old brother when he saw him struggling to swim in a Marion County creek on Monday, deputies said.
The two boys were swimming in Butte Creek at Scotts Mills Park when 8-year-old Declan "Ducky" Park got caught in a swirling current. Deputies said the boy was getting tired and swallowing water. His 12-year-old brother, Thomas, saw that he needed help, swam out to reach him and together they made it back to shore.
"I wanted to go into the big pool," Ducky told KATU on Tuesday.
He was bored with soaking his head in the kiddie pool above the falls and wanted to prove to his big brother that he could swim.
"I jumped in. I didn't touch the ground," he said.
His head went under and Thomas knew he had to act quickly.
"He was panicking, and he couldn't do anything," Thomas said.
So he jumped in after his little brother. He pulled Ducky to the surface, but he was heavy and the current was pulling them downstream.
"It just kind of pushed him toward the shallow end, and that's when I went after him again. Because I had to go back, because I got exhausted," Thomas said.
Neighbors heard the boys' aunt screaming and called 911.
Ducky was tired, but not hurt. Medics took him to a hospital for an evaluation.
Deputies said neither boy was wearing a life jacket.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office offers the following tips to remember that can save you or your child's life when swimming in the open water:
- Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.
- Always swim with a buddy.
- Ensure that everyone in the family learns to swim well.
- Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child's life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
- Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
- Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person's ability.