Accident Database

Report ID# 2831

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

Anglers save woman swept into Rogue

The California woman was thrown from her raft when it struck a rock

July 31, 2008' By
Chris Conrad

Mail Tribune MEDFORD, OR

A salmon fishing trip quickly turned into a rescue mission Wednesday morning after two anglers pulled a struggling woman from the Rogue River. William Mate, 54, and Everett Goettsch, 73, were fishing from a drift boat near the Obstinate J Ranch in the 2900 block of Highway 62 when a floundering woman and her dog came rushing by heading downstream, Mate said.

"We yelled at her and asked if she was all right," Mate said. "She was able to shake her head 'no' and we knew she was in trouble." The fishermen had to paddle hard to reach the woman before she disappeared under the water, Mate said. "She was just going up and down," Mate said. "We knew she didn't have a lot of energy left to save herself." They managed to snag the woman's arm and rowed with her along the side of the boat to the shore. It took both men to pull her from the water, Mate said. "She wasn't doing very well when we pulled her out," Mate said. "She was coughing up a lot of water and couldn't talk at all."

Meanwhile, the dog, described as a German shepherd by Mate, managed to swim safely to shore.

The woman, later identified as Sheryl Barker, 49, of Montara, Calif., was thrown from a raft she was riding in with her boyfriend and dog after it hit a rock.

She was not wearing a lifejacket, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.


Montara woman dies after Oregon rafting trip Aug 7, 2008

By Greg Thomas [

A 49-year-old Montara woman has died following a rafting accident in Oregon last week. Sheryl Barker died at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford, Ore., after a rafting accident on July 30. Barker and a friend were rafting down the Rogue River in Jackson County, Ore., and hit a rock. The collision caused Barker and one of two golden retrievers to fall overboard, reported Jackson County Fire Chief Bob Miller. The river's current, which Miller said is stronger than normal this year due to increased snow-pack runoff, propelled Barker downstream and into the midst of two anglers fishing for salmon. The men were able to grab her arm, tow her to shore and call for help. The dog was able to swim to shore. Miller said Barker was unconscious when his rescue squad arrived on the scene and with no hospital within 30 miles, Barker was evacuated via helicopter to the hospital in Medford. She remained in intensive care until she died Sunday morning.


Half Moon Bay Review, Half Moon Bay, CA

Mail Tribune Medford, OR

August 05, 2008 6:00 AM

A California woman who nearly drowned last week in the Rogue River before fishermen pulled her to safety has died, hospital officials said Monday.

Sheryl Barker, 49, of Montara, Calif., died at 5:30 a.m. Sunday at Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford. The exact cause of Barker's death was not released. She had remained hospitalized in critical condition since being rescued from a rafting accident Wednesday.

Barker and her 56-year-old boyfriend, Daniel Blakley, were rafting downstream from Lost Creek Dam when their raft hit a rock. Barker and one of their two golden retrievers were thrown overboard, said Fire Chief Bob Miller of Jackson County Fire District No. 4.

Barker was swept around a bend and two anglers, William Mate, 54, and Everett Goettsch, 73, who were fishing for salmon from a drift boat near the Obstinate J Ranch, rowed over to grab her. The men caught Barker's arm and towed her to the bank, then together pulled her from the water. The dog managed to swim to shore.

Mate ran to a house along the riverbank and called for help at about 11:20 a.m. Rescue crews, including Jackson County Fire District No. 4, Shady Cove police, the Jackson County Sheriff's Department and Mercy Flights, responded.

The fishermen and sheriff reported Barker's condition improved as she was treated on the bank, before a Mercy Flights helicopter rushed her to the hospital. But Miller said the next day that Barker was in intensive care with Blakley at her side.

Barker and Blakley were listed as staff members at the University of San Francisco. Blakley could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Dr. Eric Jensen, RVMC emergency room physician, said near-drowning victims can initially show signs of improvement once pulled from the water, but their conditions can deteriorate quickly because of damage to the brain, kidneys and lungs due to lack of oxygen. Sometimes the fresh water swallowed by victims washes away the fluid around the air cells inside their lungs, making it hard for the lungs to produce oxygen, Jensen said.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail

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