MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Rescue crews helped five people to safety after they became stranded while rafting in the Santiam River on Sunday afternoon, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

5 rafters rescued after becoming stranded in Santiam River

(Courtesy: Salem Fire Department)

The sheriff's office said the 911 call came in just after 3 p.m. The group had been floating the Santiam River before encountering rapids east of Niagara Park. Two of the rafters held onto a burnt log, while the three others were on a rock in the river. None of the rafters had personal flotation devices with them, according to the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office said the section of the river where the rafters were stranded is difficult to access due to steep terrain and damage from the Sept. 2020 wildfires. Rescue crews arrived and were able to get flotation devices to each of the rafters. The sheriff's office said a raft used by rescue crews overturned, causing two rescuers to become stranded as well.

More rescue crews were called to help, including an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter. Water teams were able to rescue one person by ground, while the remaining four rafters and two rescuers were airlifted to safety. The sheriff's office said one of the rafters was taken to an area hospital for evaluation, but no one was seriously injured.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office received help during this response from the Oregon Army National Guard, Albany Fire Department, Salem Fire Department, Lyons Rural Fire District, Gates Rural Fire Protection District, Stayton Fire District, Clackamas Fire District, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Santiam Ambulance, Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation, and Marion County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.

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