DOUGAN FALLS, Wash – A teen whose legs became trapped under water at Dougan Falls in Skamania County was rescued Monday night, but not before spending nearly an hour in the cold water.
Skamania County Sheriff’s Office said John Napierkowski, 19, was in the Washougal River under the bridge at Dougan Falls when his legs or feet became stuck. He found himself in chest deep water and couldn’t pull himself out.
Emergency crews were called to the falls and using ropes and a harness were able to eventually pull Napierkowski to safety.
Because the teen was in the water for over an hour and the water temperature was likely between 58 and 60 degrees he was sent to the hospital. Emergency medics on scene said he was showing evident signs of being in the cold water for so long.
“This stretch of warm weather has kept first responders busy throughout the area,” said Sheriff Dave Brown. “We encourage people visiting the Dougan falls area and other popular swimming areas to be safe, use a life jacket when necessary and know the hazards so that you can avoid trouble if possible.”