GLADSTONE, Ore. -- A man drowned Wednesday night and his girlfriend was rescued moments before she went underwater, in a freak accident involving their pickup truck and the rising high tide.
The couple was visiting Meldrum Bar Park near Gladstone with their two dogs. The popular site has a boat launch and a sand bar, which is a popular spot for motorists.
Witnesses said the tide started rising suddenly around 5 p.m. and the couple was caught off guard.
"They were starting to drive out because the tide was coming up or was already up high," witness Kenny Willsey told KGW. "His headlights starting going under and at that point, the truck started floating."
Fisherman Jason Jennings saw the couple struggling in the water and was able to reach the woman and pull her safely into his boat.
"When we got closer, we could hear them over the motor," Jennings said, "so we came up around the bar and with all the lights shining down from the rescue vehicles we could see a splash so we saw that and headed over and grabbed her."
The woman was moments from going under, said Jason Vandercook, who also helped pull her out. "She didn't look good. She was going up and down, struggling," he said.
Jennings said the woman "was cold, panicked and upset about her boyfriend."
She was taken to Providence Milwaukie Hospital as a precaution but was expected to fully recover, authorities said.
Searchers were not able to find the man until Thursday. His body was about 100 feet from where the truck disappeared. Divers said visibility was only one to two feet.
One of the couple’s dogs was also presumed drowned. The surviving dog swam to shore, then ran up and down the riverbank all night despite people's efforts to catch her.
At daylight Thursday, the dog, named Josey, could be seen standing alone near the edge of the sand bar and barking. But by late morning, someone finally managed to catch her and bring her to safety.
The names of the victims have not yet been released.
KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report