Oregon City

Kayak instructor rescues 3 from Clackamas River

Kayak instructor rescues 3 from Clackamas River »Play Video
Chris Bensch said he rushed to save the family when he saw they were trapped against a tree.

OREGON CITY, Ore. – A kayak instructor pulled three people to safety after their raft was stuck on a downed tree in the chilly Clackamas River Sunday afternoon.

It happened near Carver Park, east of Oregon City. Two women and a baby were pinned against a tree in the water.

Chris Bensch was teaching a kayaking class in the river when he let a group of six people float by on two large rafts tied together, but then he realized they were headed for a large fallen tree.

“I didn’t even think anything of it until they started to come passed up,” said Chris Bensch. “I was like ‘oh, they’re kind of in trouble.’ They kind of got swept into it. They kind of made it through the first one, and then totally got pinned on the second one and I immediately swung into action.”

Bensch said one woman’s face was barely out of the water as she was pinned sideways against a tree.

"Definitely they were freaking out, rightfully so," he said. "I didn't really think about it. I was just like 'I need to act now.'"

The women had life jackets with them, but the baby was the only one wearing one.

No one was hurt.