WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Tragic reminder about rip currents

Typical rip current Area of frothy waves going out, away from shore.

Typical rip current
Area of frothy waves going out, away from shore.

Another young life was cut short by a run of the mill rip current off a beach in Curry County. So many people from the valleys of Oregon hit the beach without knowing that death staring them in the face.

From Oregon State Police –

Ashland man dies while swimming in Pacific Ocean- Whaleshead Beach State Park in Curry County.

On Saturday at approximately 2:00 p.m. ALEXANDER HOWELL, age 23, from Ashland, was swimming in the Pacific Ocean about 75 yards from shore with a friend, ALEX SMITH, age 22, from Medford. According to witnesses, Howell indicated that he needed to go back to shore. But heavy surf and a strong rip current prevented the swimmers from getting back to the beach. Howell and Smith got separated in the rough waters. Smith managed to get back to shore where two other friends were waiting. But no one saw Howell. The group made a frantic search of the immediate area but saw no sign of him. They called 911 and commenced a bigger search of the shoreline and found Howell unresponsive on the beach. The friends performed CPR until they were relieved by emergency responders.

An OSP Patrol Sergeant from the Gold Beach Worksite responded to the scene along with local fire/EMS, Curry County Search & Rescue, US Coast Guard and Curry County Sheriff Department. Howell was transported to Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach for advanced life support. He was declared deceased at the hospital.

OSP learned that Howell attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland and is originally from Vista, California. Howell and Smith were part of a group that traveled over from the Ashland area to visit the south coast.

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