Rapids claim another life

Written by Jane Stebbins, Pilot staff writer July 19, 2013 08:20 pm

 

A second rafter has died trying to navigate the “Picket Fence” white water rapids in the Rogue River this week, it was reported Thursday afternoon.

According to Sheriff John Bishop, Steven Boyd, 66, of Walla Walla, Wash., was thrown from his raft Wednesday afternoon and struck his head on the boulders below. It is unknown if that contributed to his death, as others in his raft were able to escape with minor injuries.

Boyd is the second rafter to die in the Blossom Bar rapids in five days. Steven Hoyer, 56, of Spartanburg, S.C., drowned there July 12.

Both Hoyer, Boyd and their respective crews were experienced rafters.

Bishop and Marine Deputy Ted Heath responded to Foster Bar, 26 miles from Gold Beach. Blossom Bar is another 25 miles from there and accessible only by helicopter or motorized boat.

Medical helicopters were dispatched to the site, but when Heath and Bishop arrived and determined Boyd had died, they cancelled the response.

An investigation is ongoing, as is another into Hoyer’s death.

Blossom Bar is rated a Class IV rapid and extremely difficult to navigate in current water conditions, Bishop said. The river was flowing at 1,720 cubic feet per second Thursday afternoon.