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Sheriff: Teenager drowns while swimming near Marion Co. campground

North Fork Santiam River near the Elkhorn Valley Campground - KATU photo

ELKHORN, Ore. – Rescuers recover a 13-year-old's body Sunday afternoon after reports the teen had drowned while swimming with friends near the Elkhorn Valley Campground, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.

Witnesses said the teenager was swimming in the North Fork Santiam River when he went underwater at about 4:15 p.m. and didn’t resurface.

Shannon Jones, a volunteer camp host, called the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Elkhorn Valley Volunteer Fire Department for help.

Jones said a woman ran to her camper in hysterics, saying her son's friend disappeared in the river, and now her son and his other friend are stranded on the other side. Jones said she went with the mother to check on the boys.

"One of them said something to his mom, 'I'm afraid after I saw him go in, Mom. I'm afraid.' I reiterated again , 'Don't get in that water. Don't do it,'" said Jones.

Rescuers were able to get the two stranded boys safely back across the water. Divers recovered the 13-year-old's body about 100 yards downriver.

Jones says the Santiam is unusually high for this time of year, and temperatures are peaking at 50 degrees.

Deputies are withholding the teenager’s name until family members have been notified.

This is a developing story; updates will be posted as information comes in.

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