Teen's body recovered from river

Searchers recovered the body Sunday of a Medford youth who was swept away in the Applegate River Saturday afternoon.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters identified the victim as Sam Safotu, 16.

Winters said Safotu was jumping from rock to rock with friends at a popular swimming spot along the river called "the gorge" when he apparently fell from the rocks and was carried away by the current.

Winters said Safotu was not a strong swimmer, and the river was running quickly and the water was cold because record high temperatures were melting deep snow in the headwaters of the Applegate.

Searchers floated on the river on small "body boards" Saturday looking for the boy, but had to suspend the search when darkness fell at about 9:30 p.m. They returned to the river at 6 a.m. Sunday, and the Army Corps of Engineers reduced the outflow from Applegate Dam to improve conditions for searchers.

Safotu's body was discovered just before 9 a.m. near the 7100 block of Upper Applegate Road.

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