Two people rescued from Rogue River by helicopter

GOLD HILL, Ore. — Two people were rescued by helicopter last night, after getting stuck on the Rogue River near Gold Hill.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office says a man and woman rafting on the Rogue River near Ti’lomikh Falls flipped their raft early Monday night.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Fire District 3 responded.

JCSO says the man and woman were sharing a 14′ long ‘Tahiti’ raft that flipped in the strong class-4 rapids.

“We had a plan to get in the river, we were working against darkness coming. We can do those rescues at night, but once we start putting those rafts on the water in the dark, we have a much bigger risk,” said Fire District 3 chief battalion, Myron Harvey.

That risk is well known to the local rafting community, according to Steve Kiesling, the owner of Gold Hill Whitewater Center.

“There aren’t big warning signs that say ‘Hey, by the way this is a class 4 rapid!’ So, we do have more people running the river, and that means more and more people who are inexperienced,” said Kiesling.

Police say it’s fortunate the man and woman were wearing life jackets.

After swimming to a rock in the middle of the river, a passerby saw them and called police.

Harvey says because the sun was going down, first responders used a helicopter to rescue them.

But – that’s not he only reason Keisling says they were fortunate.

“If you get in trouble, this is a good place because the search and rescue people train here, they know it,” Kiesling said.

The sheriff’s office says the man and woman weren’t hurt.

Police want to remind everyone, that as weather improves, you should remember to wear safety jackets when visiting rivers and lakes.

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Mariah Mills
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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