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Prineville man drowns at Prineville Reservoir State Park; Deschutes County Dive Team recovers body

Crook County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol on scene Sunday of drowning at Prineville Reservoir State Park day-use area
Crook County Sheriff's Office
Crook County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol on scene Sunday of drowning at Prineville Reservoir State Park day-use area

Witnesses say Oscar Salazar, 20,went underwater while swimming to shore

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) – A Deschutes County dive team on Sunday located and recovered the body of a 20-year-old Prineville man who drowned while trying to swim to shore Saturday afternoon at the Prineville Reservoir State Park day-use area, Crook County sheriff’s deputies said.

Deputies were dispatched shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday on a report of a swimmer who went underwater, had not surfaced and could not be found, Sergeant Javier Sanchez said.

Marine deputies were first on scene and assisted by state park rangers searched the area, without success.

After speaking with several with several witnesses, the sergeant said it appeared that Oscar Axel Chavez Salazar had gone swimming with friends and went underwater as he tried to swim back to shore and had not resurfaced.

The area where Salazar last was seen was marked by buoys to assist search teams. Due to a thunderstorm passing over the area, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was unable to initially respond, for safety reasons, Sanchez said. A Crook County deputy stayed on scene until Sunday to continue the search.

The search resumed Sunday morning, with assistance from the Deschutes County Dive Team and Search and Rescue.

The dive team launched, searched the area and found Salazar’s body underwater near where he last was seen, Sanchez said. He said he was found in 15 to 20 feet of water.

“Based on the investigation, it was a tragic accident that occurred,” Sanchez said in a news release. “The Crook County Sheriff’s Office would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to the family during this tragic incident.

Sanchez confirmed to NewsChannel 21 that Salazar was not wearing a life jacket.

The sheriff’s office thanked agencies that assisted, including Crook County Fire & Rescue, the state park rangers, the Deschutes County Dive Team and Search and Rescue, and the Prineville Funeral Home.

Article Topic Follows: Accidents and Crashes

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Barney Lerten

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