Parents grieve over 13-year-old presumed drowned in Skagit River

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on August 16, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 16 at 6:03 PM

BURLINGTON, Wash. - Skagit County search and rescue crews still have no sign of a 13-year-old boy presumed drowned in the Skagit River. Crews now consider it a recovery effort as they scour the River by boat.

The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office is also searching by helicopter. 

Josh Soren, 13, went missing on Saturday afternoon while playing in the river on a sand bar near Burlington with two friends. Witnesses say the sand gave way sending Soren and another teenage girl into the fast moving current. 

The girl was pulled from the river by another friend, Soren went under and never resurfaced.

The teen's mother and step-father say Soren didn't know how to swim.

"If he was wearing a life jacket none of this would have happened," says Haley Huscusson, Soren's mother. "I just can't believe this is happening."

Huscusson is frustrated that there were no signs on the bank of the river to warn swimmers about the strong undercurrent.

"This can't happen to anyone else. This feeling I have is nothing anyone should have to go through," she said.

Skagit County Deputy John Hendrickson says the Skagit River is very dangerous because the water on the surface does not reveal the swirling undercurrent, and steep shelves that drop deep into the river.

"The water is moving at about 8 miles an hour under the surface," Hendrickson says. "If you were driving in a car at 8 miles per hour and tried to stop it with your foot, you couldn't. Same idea with this current; there is no stopping it, or fighting against it."

Hendrickson says the recovery effort will continue until all efforts are exhausted. If Soren's body is not found by Wednesday, crews say they will add more manpower.

Hendrickson says Soren was wearing nothing but a pair of green shorts which is difficult to spot.

A flower memorial on the bank of the river is growing.

"He was so excited for 8th grade in the fall," say Huscusson. "I can't rest until they find his body. I need that closure at least."

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