Tennis Player Drowns After Diving from a Cliff in Oregon

Alex Rovello jumped from a height of 60 feet (18.3 meters)

A college tennis player has drowned in Oregon over the weekend, after a diving stunt. Alex Rovello was a promising player and a University of Oregon junior.

Rovello was surrounded by friends when he dove off a cliff into the Blue Pool at Tamolitch Falls in Willamette National Forest. The location is a popular swimming spot located on Highway 126, near Trail Bridge Campground.

On Saturday, May 11, he dove off the 60-foot (18.3-meter) cliff and straight into the McKenzie River. He was quickly swallowed up by the river's waters and never resurfaced, witnesses recounted.

According to Sgt. Dave Lawler speaking for the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, the water was deep and waves carried Rovello away instantly. His friends tried to jump in and find him but were forced to pull back.

The water temperature in the Blue Pool registered at 37 degrees F (2.8 degrees C) at the time, KTVB informed.

A member of his group walked for two miles (3.2 km) to get reception and call 911, and emergency operators recovered his body 30 feet (9.2 meters) from the surface.

“The Oregon tennis family is devastated by the loss of Alex. [...] He was an amazing person and teammate and his spirit will live on forever with all of us who were fortunate enough to have known him,” tennis coach Nils Schyllander describes.

A service will be held on Saturday, May 18, to commemorate the tennis player and graduate of Cleveland High School in Portland.

“Alex was so much more than a dedicated and exemplary student-athlete at the University of Oregon.

“He was a son, a friend, a teammate, a leader, whose warm personality brought everyone together and whose contributions to the extended Oregon community will resonate long after today,” University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens adds.

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