Storm causes bridge to wash away; 1 dead, 23 rescued - KPTV - FOX 12

Storm causes bridge to wash away; 1 dead, 23 rescued

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Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
SANDY, OR (KPTV) -

A 35-year-old hiker who fell into the Sandy River when the bridge beneath him collapsed was found dead one mile downstream from Ramona Falls on Tuesday.

Prior to the bridge collapse, heavy rain fell during a thunderstorm. That caused the river to raise several feet in a short amount of time, and deputies said the high water is to blame for washing out the bridge.

Witnesses called 911 around 3 p.m. after witnesses hiked over a mile to a parking lot. They then drove several miles before they were able to get phone service to call for help.

Several teams of rescuers then rushed to the area to search the river bank, and they found 23 people stranded on the other side of the river, unable to cross due to the high water.

At about 6:30 p.m., rescuers found the man's body in the river.

Search teams worked for several hours to help ferry the 23 survivors across the water. They used small rafts designed for swift-water rescue to cross the Sandy River.

"They took us about a quarter-mile downstream where they had rigged up some ropes with some inflatable boats," said Dave Rockwell, who was stranded on the Ramona Falls trail. "We kind of half walked across, half-crawled in the boats. They did a great job."

All of the stranded hikers made it back to the trailhead safely.

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