Meg O’Meara Clark went out with friends for a fun, relaxing float on the Clackamas River back on July 5, 2013. The day was a typical sunny, hot day not unlike most Julys in Oregon. The water, however, remained cold. The float was a popular one, from Barton Park to Carver Park, roughly a 5.5-miles, on the meandering river, with shallow, sloped areas making for fun “chutes” and gravel bars to pull over for respite.
Meg had been taking breaks to beach her tube and swim periodically. An accomplished swimmer, Meg was comfortable in the water and felt like she was in her element. Meg was floating with her step-brother, Jack Eichhorn. The day had been a blast and just upstream of the Carver boat ramp where floaters take out, Meg jumped in the water for one last dip before the end of the trip. Although this time, she did not resurface. Dive teams and other first responders searched the area for quite some time, which proved difficult. Her family joined in the rescue efforts, although by day three, it was now a recovery mission. Meg’s body was recovered in 15 feet of water, close to where she went in.
“We don’t want anyone else to drown on this river,” says Rob O’Meara.
With a quaking voice filled with passion and grief, he said, “It’s preventable.
A simple thing like wearing a life jacket. It doesn’t matter how well you can
swim. Meg was a great swimmer. It didn’t matter.”
Whenever the water calls, think of Meg…and WEAR A LIFE JACKET.