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King Co. Sheriff's deputy revives, saves teen who jumped off cliff near Green River Gorge

Firefighters rescued a teen who jumped off a cliff near the Green River Gorge on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018. (Photo: Puget Sound Fire video).

NEAR BLACK DIAMOND, Wash. -- Deputies and firefighters are urging swimmers to be extremely cautious after a difficult rescue Tuesday along a portion of the Green River near Black Diamond.

A teen was seriously hurt after he jumped off a cliff and hit some rocks not far from the Green River Gorge Resort, firefighters said. The teen is now recovering at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. As of Wednesday afternoon, he was listed in serious condition in the hospital's intensive care unit, a hospital spokesman said.

Just looking at the area where the rescue happened, it is easy to understand the draw.

"It’s just really pretty," said 18-year-old Ben Roduin, who went to the river on Wednesday with some friends. "And when it’s hot, it’s fun to come here."

"It’s really beautiful right here," added his friend Miko Curry-Edwards, 19. "Like you can see the waterfall and everything. It’s really cool. And there’s a really high jump. It’s fun. It’s really deep out here."

Those jumps are what worry King County Sheriff's Deputy Josh Lerum.

Lerum used a defibrillator to revive the teen who seriously injured himself along the river after he jumped off a cliff on Tuesday and hit some rocks.

Another man was already performing chest compressions on the teen when Lerum and his colleagues arrived, he said.

"He let us know that he didn’t have a pulse," Lerum said. "And there was no sign of life from that side of the river. And it’s at that time that we knew we had to get the AED over to that side of the river."

Lerum quickly used a small raft to get the defibrillator to the teen, who was blue and not breathing, he said.

Without the defibrillator and without the witnesses who pulled the teen out of the water when they did, Lerum believes the teen likely wouldn’t have survived.

"There’s no doubt in my mind," Lerum told KOMO News on Wednesday afternoon.

A crew from Medic One helped stabilize the teen as Guardian 2 flew in, lifted the teen up, and took him to hospital.

Lerum said the rescue was definitely a team effort that involved several different agencies.

"Lucky and grateful that I have a crew that I have the privilege to work with," Lerum told KOMO News. "It was by far the most incredible hoist that I’ve ever seen."

Safety was top of mind as Terri Kaess watched her son jump in the river with some friends on Wednesday.

Her advice before they arrived was to be careful.

"Just those constant mom reminders, 'Be careful not to slip and watch out for wet rocks,'" she said.

The river temperature is usually about 48-52 degrees and can be a real shock to the system, firefighters said. Their advice is to always wear a life jacket, a helmet, swim with a friend, and always have a cell phone nearby. Supervise children carefully, firefighters added. And remember that alcohol and water activities should not be mixed.

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