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Woman drowns on Sauvie Island

Paddle boarder went under and never resurfaced

A 28-year-old woman drowned Sunday afternoon at Collins Beach on Sauvie Island.

Ha Khuong Vo Dang of Portland was paddle boarding at Collins Beach on Sauvie Island when witnesses saw her go under water and never come back up, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies were called out to the beach at 4:20 p.m.

A team searched until sundown around 8 p.m.

Vo Dang was never recovered.

“People saw her out there struggling and not come up," Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said Monday. "By the time we got there, it was a recovery operation. We tried to recover her body for hours; tried to find her.”

Investigators believe the woman was not wearing a life vest. Dickerson said alcohol may have been a factor, but it's unclear whether the woman had been drinking prior to her drowning.

"I know they were out there drinking on the beach,” he said, noting someone tried to grab Vo Dang, but wasn't able to.

The Sheriff's Office responded with two patrol boats, with help from the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, US Coast Guard, Portland Fire & Rescue, along with Scappoose Fire District. A US Coast Guard helicopter also assisted in the search.

"Citizens are reminded that the Columbia River at this time a year is extremely low temperatures with a fast current," the Sheriff's Office stated in a news release, advising anyone who takes part in activities on the water use a personal flotation device at all times.