Blossom Bar claims another victim

The Curry County Sheriff's Department has reported a second drowning in a week in the Blossom Bar rapids on the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River.

According to a release from the sheriff's office, Steven Boyd, 66, of Walla Walla, Wash., drowned after being thrown from his raft in the portion of the rapids known as the Picket Fence.

According to Sheriff John Bishop, Boyd and the raft crew were experienced rafters, but their raft struck boulders in the rapids and overturned. Boyd was thrown into the water and hit his head on a rock, the release said, although it was unknown if that contributed to the death. All other occupants of the raft were able to clear the rapid with minor injuries.

A Mercy Flight helicopter was dispatched to the area but found that Boyd was dead when they arrived.

Blossom Bar Rapid is 52 miles up the Rogue River from Gold Beach. The stretch of river is rated a Class IV rapid and is proving difficult to navigate in current low water conditions. It is the deadliest rapid on the river, with numerous deaths reported there in recent years.

A South Carolina man died Friday after falling into the same stretch of river while trying to dislodge his raft from a boulder in the Picket Fence area. The victim was identified as 57-year-old Steven D. Hoyer of Spartanburg, who was also described as an experienced rafter.

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