Rafter killed in fall at Rogue River rapid

GOLD BEACH, Ore. - An experienced rafter from South Carolina fell and likely drowned on Oregon's wild and scenic Rogue River two days shy of his 57th birthday, the Curry County Sheriff's Office said.

A commercial boat operator pulled Steven D. Hoyer - born July 14, 1956 - out of the water downriver from Blossom Bar on Friday, July 12, and attempted CPR for 30 minutes, the sheriff's office said.

Described as an experienced rafter, the Spartanburg, South Carolina, man was trying to negotiate the channel at the top of Class IV rapid Blossom Bar known as the “Picket Fence,” the sheriff's office said.

The rapid is more difficult to navigate because of low water, the sheriff's office said.

While trying to get his raft free, Hoyer slipped and fell into the river.

The sheriff said the cause of death is not yet confirmed as drowning or a medical condition.

The sheriff's office thanked the people who helped respond to the incident. Blossom Bar Rapid is located 53 miles up the Rogue River from the Curry County seat of Gold Beach, Oregon, and is in the Wild and Scenic area of the Rogue.

"Medical response to this area can be hours away and it is only accessible by power boat or helicopter," the sheriff's office said. "Please be safe and use caution while recreating in any of our waterways in Curry County."