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Jan-31-2016 16:03printcomments

SOSU Student Dies Swimming in Pacific Ocean

Whaleshead Beach State Park is in Curry Countyā€¸

Whaleshead Beach, Oregon
Whaleshead Beach, Oregon
Map: Google

(MEDFORD, Ore.) - An Ashland man died while swimming in the Pacific Ocean at Whaleshead Beach State Park located on Oregon's south coast.

On Saturday, January 30, 2016 at approximately 2:00 p.m. 23-year old Alexander Howell, from Ashland, was swimming in the Pacific Ocean about 75 yards from shore with a friend, 22-year old Alex Smith from Medford.

According to witnesses, Howell indicated that he needed to go back to shore. Heavy surf and a strong rip current prevented the swimmers from making an easy return to shore.

Authorities say Howell and Smith got separated in the rough waters.

Smith managed to get back to shore where two other friends were waiting, but Howell was not able to get to shore and his friends were unable to initially find him.

The group called 911 and commenced a search of the shoreline and found Alexander Howell unresponsive on the beach. The friends performed CPR until they were relieved by emergency responders.

An OSP Patrol Sergeant from the Gold Beach Worksite responded to the scene along with local fire/EMS, Curry County Search & Rescue, US Coast Guard and Curry County Sheriff Department.

Alexander Howell was transported to Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach for advanced life support. He was declared deceased at the hospital.

OSP learned that Howell attended Southern Oregon University in Ashland and is originally from Vista, California. Howell and Smith were part of a group that traveled over from the Ashland area to visit the south coast.

Source: News Release from Oregon State Police

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