Hood River, Ore. – On August 5th, 2020, local area law enforcement responded to the Marina Beach on the Columbia River for a report of swimmers in distress. Two swimmers were determined to be unaccounted for and a search and rescue operation was quickly initiated. One juvenile was recovered at the mouth of the White Salmon River and later pronounced deceased at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. The search continued until dark for the adult male still unaccounted for, and resumed again in the morning on August 6th, 2020. The adult male has not yet been recovered.
On August 6th, 2020, at approximately 6:30 PM the body of Andrew Inskeep was recovered by the Skamania County Sheriff's Office. He was located by boaters in the Columbia River near milepost 54 on Highway 14.
At approximately 6:53 PM on Wednesday, August 5th, 2020, Hood River County 911 received a call of approximately 5-6 swimmers in distress off the sandbar at Marina Beach in the Columbia River. Officers with the Hood River City Police were dispatched to try and get eyes on the situation. Officers were able to identify that two subjects were unaccounted for.
Officers with Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Enforcement (CRITFC) were able to launch a boat shortly, with a Hood River City Police officer on board. A caller from the Washington side advised of a possible subject floating near the mouth of the White Salmon River. The CRITFC boat arrived in the area and was able to pull a juvenile subject out of the water at approximately 7:38 PM. Life-saving efforts were immediately initiated while en route to the Hood River Marina, where they were met by Hood River Fire & EMS. The juvenile was transported to Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased.
In the meantime, the search continued on the water for an adult subject. The search was joined by boats and deputies from the Wasco, Skamania, and Klickitat County Sheriff's Offices, with Hood River County Sheriff's Office deputies on board. The HRCSO airplane also flew, but all efforts were called off after dark, to resume in the morning.
At 8:00 AM on Thursday, August 6th, 2020, the search was re-initiated. Utilizing the Skamania County Sheriff's Office Dive Team, along with boats from the Hood River, Wasco, Klickitat and Skamania County Sheriff's Offices, as well as CRITFC; a search was conducted based upon the last known location. Search efforts were ceased at approximately noon, having yielded nothing. Water and air searches will continue in coming days.
The unrecovered swimmer, 44-year-old Andrew Inskeep of Ridgefield, Washington, was a youth pastor with Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene. He was in Hood River as part of a youth outing and was at the beach with 18 youth and adults. Of the swimmers who were initially reported as struggling in the water, the others were able to either self-rescue or were rescued by adult church sponsors or nearby windsurfers. The deceased juvenile was an 11-year-old male member of the youth group whose name will not be released due to age.
Pastor Jason Matters of the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene has asked that the families and church community be given space to grieve as they deal with this tragedy. The Hood River County Sheriff's Office and community of Hood River mourns with the Ridgefield community over the tragic loss of these two people.