Rescuers spend night on river with stranded rafters

An elderly couple was unable to hike off the trail in the dark

6-5-13-sandy river
One of the many crooks in the Sandy River, which runs through Clackamas County, Ore. (Sandy Historical Society)

CLACKAMAS, Ore. (KOIN) — Firefighters spent Friday night on the Sandy River with a pair of stranded rafters.

The Sandy River on July 30, 2016. (KOIN)
The Sandy River on July 30, 2016. (KOIN)

A 6-person family was out rafting on the Sandy River when they got stuck on some rocks. One person had a potential diabetic medial issue, prompting Life Flight to respond, along with a Clackamas County water rescue team.

Life Flight was able to land near the victims and help until firefighters arrived to rescue them.

According to the Clackamas Fire District, 4 members of the family were able to hike out after crews freed the raft form the rocks, but 2 elderly people were unable to make the hike.

Firefighters decided to keep the couple on the river overnight and get to safety when it was light again.

Mark Kester with Clackamas Fire's water rescue team on July 30, 2016. (KOIN)
Mark Kester with Clackamas Fire’s water rescue team on July 30, 2016. (KOIN)

“We used our space blankets and the 4 of us kind of huddled on the rock and we had some MREs and closed our eyes and watched the shooting stars and satellites and planes for by all night long,” said Mark Kester with Clackamas Fire.

They reached Oxbow Park at 9:15 a.m. Saturday.

Everyone was uninjured, just cold and tired.

Clackamas Fire District shared this message:

When planning a rafting trip on any river, be sure to always wear a life jacket and allow yourself plenty of time to get back safely in case any emergencies occur.

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