Accident Database

Report ID# 3574

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Raft’s flip on Rogue River takes life of Eugene man


Published: Friday, Sep 9, 2011

GOLD BEACH — The most difficult rapid on the wild section of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon has claimed its second victim in a week. Robert F. Nyam, 68, of Eugene was rowing a raft through Blossom Bar on Wednesday when he hit rocks and flipped, the Curry County sheriff’s office said. His passenger, 50-year-old Linda Feigum of Eugene, managed to climb onto the raft after it washed up on rocks, but Nyam was swept away. His body was recovered about 200 yards downstream. Both were wearing life jackets. Meanwhile, deputies recovered the body of 68-year-old William Martindale of Sherwood, who drowned Friday after jumping out of his drift boat with a rope when it got stuck on the section of Blossom Bar known as the Picket Fence.

For the second time in five days, dangerous rapids on the Rogue River have claimed the life of a boater. Robert Nynam, 68, of Eugene was rafting near Blossom Bar when the raft tipped over and he was swept away, said Curry County Lt. John Ward. His body was recovered 200 yards down driver. It was the second boating accident that morning.

The events began as Curry County Sheriff’s deputies completed the recovery of the body of William Martindale, 68, of Sherwood. Martindale drowned there Friday after his boat became stuck on a rock and he jumped out to free it, but became entangled in the rope he carried. At about the same time, Nynam and passenger, Linda Feigum, 50, of Eugene, hit the rocks on the north side of the rapids and tipped over. Both were thrown into the water. Feigum was able to hang onto the raft, then climbed on to the top and was rescued by another boater who had witnessed the accident.

Blossom Bar, located about 52 miles up the Rogue River from Gold Beach, is one of the most dangerous spots on the river, Ward said. “We have more accidents there anywhere else on the river.” The water is also higher than usual for this time of year, he said. Nynam was an experienced boater who had rafted the stretch of water many times, Ward said. “You have got to know what you are doing,” Ward said. People have got to know this is a dangerous rapid and they have to prepare for that. But sometimes you just can’t.” h


A raft operated by Robert Francis Nynam, 68, from Eugene hit some rocks on the north side of the rapids and tipped over. Nynam and his passenger Linda Lee Feigum, 50, also from Eugene, were thrown into the water but managed to hang onto the raft. The raft was hung up in the rocks by ropes that had drifted down from the raft. Feigum then climbed on top of the raft and was later rescued by another party member who had witnessed the accident. Nynam was unable to hang on to the raft and was swept down into the rapids and was later found deceased approximately 200 yards downriver.

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