RUCH, Ore. — A 4-year-old child remains in a Portland hospital in critical condition after nearly drowning in the Applegate River on Sunday evening, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies and medical staff responded to Cantrall Buckley Park in Jacksonville around 6:15 p.m. on Sunday for reports of a toddler who had "gone into the river and drowned." When first responders arrived, they found a crowd gathered around the toddler, who had been pulled from the river. Someone was already performing life-saving measures.
Witnesses said that a family had been with the 4-year-old near the river, and the child had been seated at the water's edge. A family member turned away momentarily "and the toddler was suddenly gone."
The Sheriff's Office said that the toddler fell into deeper water, quickly went under and was taken downstream with the current. Five or ten minutes later, someone managed to pull the child from the water at a big circle of rocks on the south side of the Cantrall Buckley Bridge — about 250 yards downriver from where he fell in.
Mercy Flights took the child to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, and by this time the toddler was showing signs of life. JCSO said that the child was considered to be in stable condition with a good heart rate, but could not breathe on his own. He was flown to Doernbecher Hospital in Portland for further treatment.
JCSO cited a family member who said on Wednesday that the child remains in critical condition, but he was briefly taken off anesthesia "and he opened his eyes and said 'Mama.'" He was placed back under anesthesia so he would not pull out any of the necessary medical equipment. His lungs were still very weak, and he still needs assistance to breath.
According to the Sheriff's Office, there were no signs of criminal negligence related to the child's fall into the river.
EDIT: In a statement about the drowning incident, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office reported that the child was two years old. According to a GoFundMe page established by the family, he is a 4-year-old. The article has been updated accordingly.