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Counselor Rescues Teen From River On Trip With Boys To Columbia, Man Pulls Youth From Bottom

Associated Press

A part-time counselor at the Canyon View Group Home rescued a drowning, 17-year-old boy from the Columbia River at Walla Walla Point Park on Thursday afternoon, diving 10 feet to pluck the youth to safety.

The youth, Aaron Williams, of East Wenatchee, was discharged Friday from Central Washington Hospital.

The counselor, Steve Louthan, and boys from the group home were visiting the park when Williams tried to swim about 150 feet from an island to the beach. Williams got about 60 feet across when he started to get cramps and called for help.

Another person told him to float on his back, but Williams said he didn’t know how.

“I ran to the shore, taking my sandals off,” Louthan said. “By the time I came up from diving in, he was gone.”

Louthan dove and spotted Williams on the bottom but had to surface again to catch his breath.

“I took a deep breath and went down, and he was still there about 10 feet under,” Louthan said. “He appeared to be sitting there moving his hands slowly from side to side.

“I tried to grab his hair, but it was too short. So I grabbed his head with both hands and pulled and kicked, fighting to the top, feeling panicked and out of breath.”

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