Internal investigation underway after hiker’s death

1 dead, 23 stranded after footbridge washes away on Ramona Falls trail

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)

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Mount Hood National Forest federal employees said an internal review is currently in progress after one man died when a footbridge was washed away during a flash flood on Tuesday at a popular hiking trail.

A 35-year-old man died and 23 hikers were stranded on Tuesday after a footbridge across the Sandy River on the Ramona Falls trail was swept away, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

Forest service employees said the footbridge washed away is only in place along the trail from June to October when the Sandy River is generally low enough for people to hike across safely.

Mount Hood National Forest Public Affairs Officer Laura Pramuk responded to questions about the level of safety on the bridge and whether rangers are sent to warn people when dangerous conditions are present.

“It’s unpredictable. And no, we do not do that, and we can’t know with any certainty when there might be high water or strong currents,” said Pramuk.

When asked whether further safety precautions will be taken in the future, Pramuk said the office does not know yet.

However, federal employees said there are already informational signs in place between the trailhead and the bridge, warning hikers that there can be high water present.

On Wednesday, there was still no word on if or when the footbridge will be replaced.

Employees said that decision will depend on the outcome of the investigation.

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