Father drowns while trying to save daughter in North Fork Santiam River

Drowning along the North Fork Santiam - Marion County Sheriff's Office photo.

LYONS, Ore. – A man drowned Thursday after jumping into the Santiam River when he saw his daughter struggling in the water at Marion County's North Fork Park, the sheriff’s office said.

Emergency crews were called out about 2 p.m. for a water rescue on the Little North Fork of the Santiam River.

Initial reports state that Baltazar Tellovelasco, 29, of Oxnard, California went underwater and did not resurface.

Before first responders arrived on-scene, people at the park managed to get Tellovelasco out of the water.

After extensive efforts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses said Tellovelasco went into the water to help his 12-year-old daughter, who appeared to be in distress. She made it safely to the shore, however, her father went underwater.


The Little North Fork of the Santiam River is a popular recreational area in the Santiam Canyon. Even on warm days, the water remains very cold, swift, and can be deeper than anticipated by swimmers. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office suggests swimmers exercise caution by following some simple steps:

  • Never swim alone
  • Avoid alcohol and marijuana around the water
  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Know how to perform CPR
  • Know how and where you can call 911

The Sheriff’s Office reminds visitors there is very little to no cell phone reception in the North Fork area of the Santiam River. There are two 911 call boxes located on the outside wall of the Elk Horn Fire Station and at the entrance to Salmon Falls Park.

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