Hot weather and cold water a deadly combo

Hot weather and cold water a deadly combo »Play Video
Four people have died on Oregon lakes and rivers in recent days in just Lane, Linn and Marion counties alone.

EUGENE, Ore. - Ten people drowned in 10 days on Oregon and southwest Washington waters, including 4 in Lane, Linn and Marion counties alone.

In addition to the drownings, search and rescue crews have responded to several close calls.

"We've had like a dozen, 15 rescues or more," said John Miller with Lane County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue.

One of the main culprits: people seeking cooling relief from the heat.

"While it's 90 outside, it's 50, 55 in the water," Miller said. "That's darn cold. That sends a shock wave through your system."

Miller said the number of water rescues here in Lane County are actually on par with past years at this time. But he said search and rescue workers want to continue educating the public to try and bring those numbers down.

"A lot of them just don't think what might happen if this or this occurs," he said.

Along an area river, the seeminly placid water conceals currents, logs and other perils.

"I never let them go swimming in the current, especially the little ones," said Aaron Kopperud of Springfield. "They have to stay in calm areas."

While the most recent drownings have occurred at swimming holes, Miller said people floating rivers in small inflatables not meant for the rapids lead to many water rescues.

"They even go as far as to string them together with some very thin twine or light weight rope," he said, "which is just asking for trouble."