Two drown at Oregon's White River Falls

At least one victim may have ties to local church

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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THE DALLES, Ore. — The Wasco County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of two men who drowned Monday afternoon at the main falls of White River Falls Day Use area east of Tygh Valley. The two bodies have not been recovered.

Sources believe at least one of the people who drowned was at River Rock Church’s Experience the Valley camp.

This message was on River Rock’s Facebook page Monday night: “Please be in prayer for the Justice family today. Their son Caleb drowned while swimming at camp today. We will be having a prayer service tonight at Camas/Washougal at 7pm for those who wish to pray for the family.”

Members of the church could not be reached Monday night. River Rock has a church in Camas and one in east Vancouver.

Names of the men who drowned were not released.

Undersheriff Lane McGill said that at approximately 2:18 p.m., his office received a report that two men tried to walk behind the falls to take a photograph and slipped into the pool at the base of the falls.

Witnesses tried unsuccessfully to rescue them.

No other information was released.

White River Day Use area is about four miles east of Tygh Valley along Highway 216. Tygh Valley is about 30 miles south of The Dalles.