A group of stranded rafters clung to a burnt log and rock in the middle of a raging river, Oregon officials said.
The rafters were floating in a remote part of the Santiam River on Sunday when they came up on strong rapids, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. The river is about 12 miles long and located in western Oregon.
“Two of the rafters held onto a burnt log while three others were on a rock in the river,” officials said Monday on Facebook. “None of them had required personal flotation devices with them.”
The Santiam River is difficult to access because it is steep and was damaged during wildfires in 2020, officials said. That made the rescue difficult.
The group was floating near Niagara Park, which is a section of the river that’s known to have extreme rapids, according to the Salem Statesman Journal. Most people start downstream, but damage from wildfires has pushed people to find new locations, the news outlet reported.
When rescuers went to help save the rafters, they also got stranded. Their raft overturned and two people got stuck, according to the sheriff’s office.
Eventually, rescue officials were able to get each of the rafters in the group a flotation device. Then one person was removed from the water on the ground. The other four rafters and two rescuers were airlifted by the Oregon Army National Guard.
“One of the rafters was taken to a local hospital for evaluation,” the sheriff’s office said. “Fortunately, no one involved sustained serious injuries.”