Searchers recover body of man swept into Sandy River

Searchers recover body of man swept into Sandy River »Play Video
The swollen Sandy River flows below Mount Hood Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. A search is on for a hiker who reportedly fell in the river on the trail to Ramona Falls. (Photo: Bob Heye/KATU News)

ZIG ZAG, Ore - Searchers have recovered the body of a man who was swept into the Sandy River on Tuesday after a footbridge on a trail to Ramona Falls washed away.

The incident happened just before 3 p.m. near Zig Zag. Searchers found the man's body hours later.

Mountains of water rushing down the Sandy River from afternoon thunderstorms over Mt. Hood swept under the seasonal footbridge on the trail to Ramona falls

A man hiking up to the falls was on the footbridge when it broke loose.

He was wearing a pack.

The man's body was recovered a mile downstream from where he fell into the Sandy river, which was swollen from thunderstorm downpours.

“What we know from witnesses is that it was at least a four-foot increase in water,” said Sgt. Nate Thompson of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office,  “In my experience it's very unusual for this area.  We have had this bridge wash out, but that's usually during flood times and flood events, not during this time of the year.”

The washout stranded 23 other hikers on the far side of the river.

Their rescue was caught on video. Click here to watch it.

 “I was petrified. I am scared of river crossings anyway,” said rescued hiker Karen Anderson

Anderson and her husband Mike Anderson were visiting from Virginia.

The Andersons were finishing up a three-day hike from Timberline Lodge when they faced the washed-out foot bridge knowing a man had already been swept away.

“Yeah, we heard that he was on the bridge and the bridge broke.  That's all we heard,” said Mike Anderson.

“It looked really washed out and everything and we didn't thing,” said Karen Anderson, “back in Virginia it doesn't do that that quickly.  They said there was a rescue going on because a bridge had fallen.”

Getting people across the raging river wasn't the only challenge.

“There's boulders,” said Mark Kester of the Clackamas County Fire & Rescue Water Rescue Team, “You can hear the boulders tumbling down the river.  If you put your leg in there, it breaks your leg. You're in trouble.”

Despite that danger, rescue crews were able to get nearly two dozen people across the river to safety.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office did not release the identity of the 35 year old man who died in the river, though they did say he was not from the local area.