6-year-old Girl Missing In Frigid Oregon River

By Salon Staff

Published January 24, 2012 2:27AM (EST)

ESTACADA, Ore (AP) — An Oregon man raced along the rain-swollen Clackamas River but couldn't keep up with his 6-year-old daughter who had fallen into the stream and was swept on downriver, authorities said.

Rescue workers looked for Vinesa Snegur on Sunday afternoon and resumed their search Monday morning along the waterway that's running fast and cold from a recent winter storm.

"It was just a second of inattention," said Sgt. James Rhodes of the Clackamas County sheriff's office. "He turned away. Then, splash, and she fell in. He ran and tried to keep up with her, but he was unable to."

Rhodes said the girl and her parents, Igor and Marina Snegur, are from southeast Portland and drove Sunday to play in the snow. They parked near Austin Hot Springs in the Mount Hood National Forest where a road is close to the stream.

The spot is about 60 miles southeast of Portland. There's no cell service, and the family couldn't report her missing until they got to a phone at a ranger station an hour later to call for help, Rhodes said.

The water temperature Monday morning was just above freezing, and the river is carrying a heavy load of trees and roots, imperiling rescue workers, he said. Poor visibility kept a National Guard helicopter on the ground Monday morning.

About 100 rescue workers, including divers, worked a stretch of the river four miles downstream on Monday.

Like many streams in western Oregon, the Clackamas River is swollen by heavy rain that fell late last week as a winter storm moved into the region. The storm caused flooding in many communities in the Willamette Valley.

A mother and her 1-year-old son died after a creek swept away their car from an Albany, Ore. parking lot. A father and his son were able to escape.

Most streams have receded, but more rain is been forecast this week in western Oregon, raising the possibility of more floods.

Salon Staff

MORE FROM Salon Staff

Related Topics ------------------------------------------