Medford teen drowns in South Umpqua

A Medford teenager died Monday when he slipped on rocks in the South Umpqua River northeast of Tiller.

Tyler Dean Lavender, 17, had been camping with friends at South Umpqua Falls, about 20 miles northeast of Tiller on South Umpqua Highway, according to a press release from the Douglas County sheriff's office.

The teen was at the top of the falls in swift-moving water that was 4 to 6 inches deep, the release said. He slipped, sliding down the rock into a large pool of water, above the top of the falls. The pool of water he fell into was about 8 to 12 feet deep and the temperature of the water was about 40 degrees.

Friends tried to rescue him, but pressure from the water kept them from pulling him out of the river, according to the sheriff's office release.

Members of the South Umpqua Swift Water Rescue team were able to get Lavender to the water's surface, but by then he had drowned.

His body was taken to Mountain View Funeral Home in Tri City.

— Staff reports

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