The body of a Gold Beach man was recovered from the Rogue River Friday morning, April 24, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office reported.
On Thursday, April 23, the Curry County Dispatch received a 911 call reporting a boat going in circles in the Rogue River just offshore from Huntley Park gravel bar about 6 miles east of Gold Beach and the caller stated that they could not see anybody in the boat. A second 911 call was received reporting that there was a man in the river but locals in the area could not find him.
Several Sheriff’s deputies responded as well as Cal-Ore Life Flight and the Gold Beach Fire Department. The Sheriff and a Marine Deputy responded by boat and made contact with a witness at the location.
Sheriff’s Search and Rescue deployed drones in the area to get an overview of the location while other SAR members scoured the area by boats and used sonar to try and locate the missing person under water.
Deputies were told that the operator of the boat was Harold Helton, 53, of Gold Beach. Helton had launched his boat off the gravel bar at Huntley Park and was supposed to pick up his fishing partner up around the corner.
When Helton never showed up, the fishing partner noticed Helton’s boat going in circles down below. Helton’s fishing partner was able to get into another boat and got to the boat, shut the motor off but could not find Helton.
As darkness fell, searchers had not located Helton and made plans to return at first light to resume the search with divers.
On Friday, April 24, deputies, SAR members and divers started searching the area. At about 8:44 a.m., the body of Helton was located by divers and brought back to the surface. Next of kin have been notified.