River tragedy repeating itself

By The Curry Coastal Pilot September 09, 2011 08:57 pm


A history of tragedy is growing longer this week: A wild section of the Rogue River in Curry County has claimed two lives within a five-day period. Several others have nearly drowned this summer in similar rafting or kayaking mishaps.

In 2008, three people suffered similar deaths on the Rogue and several near-drownings were reported. 

If anything, the latest river fatalities serve as a reminder to all of us to have a healthy respect for the Rogue and all rivers, and be aware of the potential dangers.

It’s also a reminder of how quickly our local authorities and our swift-water rescue team respond to such incidents. (It just so happens that next week the Oregon State Marine Board will have its annual whitewater jet boat training on the Rogue River for marine law enforcement personnel from around the state.)

Drownings on the Rogue River are nothing new, but there are things people can do to reduce the risks.

•Children must always be supervised around water (flotation devices and inflatable toys are not substitutes for supervision).

•Never swim where there may be hidden hazards.

•Never dive into any water unless you are sure of its depth.

•Wear a life jacket when appropriate.

While experienced kayakers, rafters, fishermen and other river enthusiasts will always be drawn to the Rogue for recreation, so, too, will those who are unprepared. Individuals who pay no heed to the ominous, annual warnings and reports of fatalities risk becoming victims, and becoming better acquainted with Curry County’s swift-water rescue personnel.

That is, if they are lucky.