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Eugne, OR.  Eugene Springfield Fire responded to swimmers in distress near the low head dam on the Willamette River in Glenwood Saturday afternoon.  Crews were alerted to the water rescue call at 3:19 PMand the first land based fire crews arrived 5 minutes later to guide the water rescue boats.  In all, 7 college age males were assisted following a near drowning incident involving the defunct dam and debris in it.  The individuals were floating the river in non-rated floatation devices without wearing life jackets.  Some of all of the swimmers were forced under the water due to currents and obstacles called strainers.  Most were washed down stream from the dam while one was able to escape the churning current by grabbing a branch to pull himself up concrete wall.  The low head dam is a dangerous obstacle in the waterway on a good day.  With cold water, changing flows and debris caught on the dam, it is much more dangerous.  We recommend recreating on the river with approved and rated water craft while wearing an approved personal floatation device (life jacket). Eugene Springfield Fire was supported by Lane County Sherriff’s Office.