Officials rescue 4 overdue rafters from sandbar on Sandy River - KPTV - FOX 12

Officials rescue 4 overdue rafters from sandbar on Sandy River

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Four rafters who had been missing for several hours on the Sandy River were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter early Tuesday morning. 

The U.S Coast Guard, MCSO River Patrol and MCSO Search and Rescue were dispatched to Dabney State Park around 11:30 p.m Monday.

Deputies said a group of six rafters started out on the Sandy River from Oxbow Park around 4:30 p.m.

Later, two of the rafters decided to stop and walk back to their car at Oxbow.

The two planned to meet up with the others and drove down to the floating finishing point, but the four other rafters never arrived.

It is a 13-mile trip by car from the starting point to the finishing point. The float from Oxbow park normally takes about 6 hours.

Deputies said this is a very popular floating spot. They were told the men were on store-bought, two-person tubes and were not wearing life jackets. 

Officials said a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the rafters on a sandbar around 5:30 a.m a few miles upriver from Dabney Park. The helicopter was able to land on the sandbar and pick them up.

The rafters, 27-year-old Cody West, 30-year-old Chris Penhall, 23-year-old Tevin Cotton and 34-year-old Cory Hood of Vancouver, said they became worried when darkness fell and they couldn't see where they were going on the river.  

According to the rafters, they pulled over to a sandbar and stayed the night. The had some food and water and were able to build a small fire to keep warm.

All rafters are uninjured.

The rafters added that if they had started the float earlier in the day, they would have been able to finish in daylight hours. 

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