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Man drowns in rural waterway outside Amity

Drowning investigation near Amity farmland - Polk County Sheriff's Office photo
Drowning investigation near Amity farmland - Polk County Sheriff's Office photo
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AMITY, Ore. – Emergency responders recovered a man’s body after he drowned Thursday while swimming in a waterway in rural Polk County.

The incident happened about 9:30 a.m. on some farmland off of Perrydale Road, located southwest of Amity.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a group of farmworkers went swimming during their break in the Ash Swale, which is part of the Marvin Fast Reservoir. The waterway is less than a mile from the road.

Witnesses said one of the swimmers, 27-year-old is Daniel Silva-Reyes, was having difficulties in the water. His coworkers tried to help him, however, he went underwater before they could reach him.

"They could tell something was wrong," Sheriff Mark Garton said of his friend's efforts to rescue Silva-Reyes. "By the time they got out there, he was under the water and they could not find him."

A Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue swiftwater rescue team responded from Newberg to help in the recovery of the man's body.

Lt. Burk Whitmire says they launched an inflatable raft. Launching a power boat was out of the question because the pond was too small and access was difficult.

Whitmire says they use long poles to find underwater objects. The pond's depth varied from three to ten feet deep.

Whitmire says ponds are generally warmer than flowing rivers, but this time of year the water is still chilly, hovering in the upper fifties to low sixties. The pond's visibility was poor.

First responders located his body at about 11:45 a.m.

"[The water] may look appetizing," Garton said, "but ultimately in this type of weather, you got to be prepared."

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Firefighters urge swimmers to use a life jacket, know your limits, know the conditions and water temperature, and swim at a guarded area.

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