Man swept into Sandy River found dead, 23 rescued

Hiker bridge crossing Sandy River washed out by rain

ZIGZAG, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A man swept into the Sandy River on the popular Ramona Falls hike during a flash flood on Tuesday was found dead a mile downstream, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Crews rescue 23 hikers stranded after footbridge across Sandy River was swept away. One man caught in the stream during the flash flood was found dead, August 12, 2014. (Twitter/ @ClackCoSheriff)
Crews rescue 23 hikers stranded after footbridge across Sandy River was swept away. One man caught in the stream during the flash flood was found dead, August 12, 2014. (Twitter/ @ClackCoSheriff)

Crews also confirmed late Tuesday that 23 hikers caught on the other side of the river after a footbridge was knocked out were safely rescued.

“They took us about a quarter mile down stream where they rigged down some ropes with inflatable boats,” said Dave Rockwell, a McMinnville resident. “We kinda half walked across, crawled us in the boats. They shuttled us across, took our packs next. They did a great job.”

A large downpour filled the river and washed out a bridge across the Sandy River on the trailhead earlier in the afternoon, leaving the hikers stranded.

Authorities said Brent Ludwig was swept into the river while in the process of crossing the footbridge. The 34-year-old man was from New Lenox, Illinois. His death was ruled accidental, authorities said a few days later.

A severe weather warning had been issued for Clackamas County earlier in the day.

The footbridge was a temporary one put into place for summertime hiking.

Police said the Ramona Falls trail will remain closed until crews can put in a new footbridge. They gave no estimate to when that may happen.

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