July 15, 2014
On July 14, 2014 at approximately 8:10pm, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call, from a caller reporting a man stuck in the water at Dougan Falls. The caller reported the man’s head was above water but his legs were trapped.
Deputies responded along with EMS and Fire units. Personnel arrived to find John Napierkowski, 19 years of age from Washougal WA, in the Washougal River under the bridge at Dougan Falls. Napierkowski’s legs or feet were stuck under water and he was in chest deep water.
First Responders began assisting by providing ropes and tying them around Napierkowski. A life jacket was also provided. Upon arrival of additional resources, Napierkowski was fitted with a harness and an additional rope. First responders then began pulling on the rope from upriver and were able to free Napierkowski. Additional responders then pulled Napierkowski from the river and he was packaged onto a litter. Napierkowski was subsequently transported to the hospital.
It is believed that Napierkowski was stuck in the water for approximately 1 hour. While he was able to follow instructions from first responders, it was evident that he was feeling the effects of being in the river for an extended period of time. Responders described Napierkowski as being “coherent and following instructions but lethargic.” The water temperature is believed to be in the range of 58 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
“This stretch of warm weather has kept first responders busy throughout the area. We encourage people visiting the Dougan falls area and other popular swimming areas to be safe, use a life jacket when necessary and know the hazards so that you can avoid trouble if possible.”
End Press Release
Dave Brown, Sheriff
(509)427-9490 ext. 2011