Rescuers’ raft overturns trying to reach stranded group on Santiam River

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Emergency responders arrived around 3 p.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Several people were stranded on the Santiam River east of Niagara Park on Sunday.

Emergency responders rushed to the scene east of Mill City and Gates around 3 p.m. after a 911 caller reported five people had become stranded in the river. Officials say the group had been floating the river before coming upon rapids and getting thrown into the water.

Two of the rafters were holding onto a burnt log while the others were on a rock in the river. Officials say no one in the group had personal floatation devices, which are required while out on the river.

Once emergency crews arrived, they immediately began rescue efforts.

Crews were able to get floatation devices to each person in the group — but while attempting to reach them, a raft used by rescuers overturned. Two of those rescuers became stranded as a result.

Ultimately, one person was rescued by ground and the remaining rafters and rescuers were airlifted to safety by an Oregon Army National Gaurd helicopter. One rafter was taken to a hospital for evaluation but no one suffered any serious injuries.

Authorities would like to remind the public to be mindful and use extreme caution when swimming or floating on the river — and to always bring the required floatation devices.

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