Teen Drowns Trying To Cross Cowlitz River

Longview, Wash. — On August 12th, 2023, at approximately 6:15 PM, Cowlitz County deputies, in collaboration with Cowlitz 2 Fire and Rescue and the Cowlitz County Dive Team, responded to an emergency call regarding a 15-year-old male struggling while swimming in the Cowlitz River within the Lexington area.

The incident unfolded as three youths embarked on an attempt to swim across the river. Upon reaching the midpoint of their swim, they encountered the force of the river’s current and decided to reverse course and swim back to shore. Unfortunately, two of the swimmers encountered difficulties while attempting to return to safety.

A vigilant bystander observed the struggle of the two individuals and intervened by entering the water to render assistance. The bystander successfully aided one of the swimmers in reaching the shore, but regrettably, the other swimmer went underwater and did not resurface.

In response to the situation, the Cowlitz County Sheriffs office and the Cowlitz County Dive Team initiated a coordinated effort involving the deployment of a boat. Two divers were swiftly dispatched into the water to conduct a search. Their expeditious actions led to the recovery of the deceased, identified as 15-year-old Zander Medina of Longview.

With support from the Cowlitz Chaplaincy, the Medina family was notified of the tragic incident. The Cowlitz County Coroners Office assumed custody of the deceased as standard protocol.