Vancouver teen one of two Oregon drowning victims

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: July 10, 2012, 8:49 PM

 

A diver on Tuesday evening recovered the bodies of two young men — one of whom is from Vancouver — from an Oregon river.

The bodies were found in a pool below White River Falls, a Wasco County Sheriff’s Office release said. The site is at the White River Falls State Park near Tygh Valley in north-central Oregon.

Jonathan Brett McLean, 26, of Portland and Caleb Justice, 15, of Vancouver were walking the lower section of White River Falls and trying to take photos around 2 p.m. Monday. They both slipped on the rocks and fell into the pool at the base of the falls, which plunge 90 feet over a basalt shelf.

Wasco County Undersheriff Lane Magill said bystanders threw a rope but were unable to save the two.

Justice was taking part in Experience the Valley, a summer camp put on by River Rock Church and five other churches. There were about 40 kids from River Rock Church and 150 in all attending the camp. Justice was a member of the East Vancouver River Rock Church, along with his family. McLean was a counselor and volunteer at Harvest Community Church in Camas.

“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of two precious lives and we will continue to pray and support their families through their ordeal,” said a statement from River Rock Church.

The church is collecting money for a memorial fund.

Magill said others have drowned in the general area around where McLean and Justice drowned Monday.

Two people drowned in the same area two years ago, he said.