A report of a runaway boat, heading into the rapids near Illahe Riffle near Agness at around 11:20 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29 brought a call to all emergency responders in the area. The 18-foot yellow boat was reported to have a woman with a dog onboard, “out of control hitting rocks,” and drifting down the river.
The Sheriff’s department did not have anyone available for water rescue, so the Gold Beach Fire Department responded. One of their volunteers who is with Search and Rescue launched his boat at Quosatana Campground and rescuers headed upriver.
The incident occurred while the boat was carrying a tractor upriver when its motor died and could not be restarted. A man on the boat jumped overboard with the bow rope, hoping to tow the boat to shore. He was unable to tow the boat due to the shortness of the bow rope. The woman and dog drifted downriver for quite a ways, according to Gold Beach Fire Chief Tyson Krieger. She jumped out of the boat before it became hung up at “Old Diggins” at the top of Wildcat Rapids. The man, woman and the dog were safe.
The Gold Beach Fire Department crew reached the loose boat and tied it to the shore and gave the two people and dog a ride upriver to their cabin.
“These incidents happen fairly regularly in that area, Krieger said, “because that is the only way to move equipment to such remote areas.”