Accident Database

Report ID# 3746

  • Health Problem
  • Heart Attack / Heart Failure
  • Other

Accident Description

A Jerry's jet boat driver was in a private jet boat on his day off and was at Volkswagen rock when Steve came floating down. The driver pulled him from the river, onto a rock, and his two companions started CPR while the driver came to Paradise for help.

One person from my group is a life flight nurse from Bend and was taken within minutes to the scene where they picked up Steve and continued to do CPR for 45 minutes until they met the ambulance at Foster Bar.

From: anthonybstone

Cc: CFS - River Trips

Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2013

Subject: Re: [cfsRiverTrips] Blossom Bar Deaths

I rafted the Rogue the same time the first guy died...sounded like a heart attack from what we heard. Apparently he had a chance to be rescued, but decided to jump in the water and swim it. We ended up camping next to the guys who tried to rescue him...very difficult situation all round.

Blossom Bar is easily scouted from river right, but if you are not familiar with the rapid, the correct route (to the right of the picket fence looking down river) is hard to see properly due to the size of the boulders around it. If you walk further down, you should be able to make out the correct route more easily. If you are unfamiliar with the rapid, you should do that, even though it is a tough walk down and back up.

Having said that, it is imperative to catch the eddy above the picket fence/correct slot, and pull hard to the right to get in the slot. Once you do that, the rest is somewhat easier, even if you bounce around off the rocks further down.


South Carolina man dies while rafting on Rogue River

By The Associated Press July 15, 2013

GOLD BEACH — A South Carolina man has died after falling in the Rogue River when his raft got stuck in a rapid. Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said Monday he is waiting for the body to be examined by the medical examiner to know whether the man drowned or died of a medical issue.

Bishop says 57-year-old Steven D. Hoyer of Spartanburg died Friday at Blossom Bar, a Class IV rapid in the wild section of the popular whitewater river. Bishop says Hoyer was wearing a life jacket and a helmet as he tried to free his raft from a line of rocks known as the Picket Fence. He initially told others along the river he was fine, but was not conscious when people got to him at the bottom of the rapid.


GOLD BEACH, Ore. - An experienced rafter from South Carolina fell and likely drowned on Oregon's wild and scenic Rogue River two days shy of his 57th birthday, the Curry County Sheriff's Office said. A commercial boat operator pulled Steven D. Hoyer - born July 14, 1956 - out of the water downriver from Blossom Bar on Friday, July 12, and attempted CPR for 30 minutes, the sheriff's office said.

Described as an experienced rafter, the Spartanburg, South Carolina, man was trying to negotiate the channel at the top of Class IV rapid Blossom Bar known as the “Picket Fence,” the sheriff's office said. The rapid is more difficult to navigate because of low water, the sheriff's office said. While trying to get his raft free, Hoyer slipped and fell into the river. The sheriff said the cause of death is not yet confirmed as drowning or a medical condition.

The sheriff's office thanked the people who helped respond to the incident. Blossom Bar Rapid is located 53 miles up the Rogue River from the Curry County seat of Gold Beach, Oregon, and is in the Wild and Scenic area of the Rogue. "Medical response to this area can be hours away and it is only accessible by power boat or helicopter," the sheriff's office said. "Please be safe and use caution while recreating in any of our waterways in Curry County."


Heart attacks blamed for Rogue River deaths

July 23, 2013

By Mark Freeman

Mail Tribune, Ashland, OR

GOLD BEACH — Two men who died this month after rafting accidents five days apart in the Rogue River's remote Blossom Bar were killed by heart attacks and not drownings, the Curry County Sheriff's Department said Monday.

Medfical examiner reports that the "stress of the events" of crashing rafts at the rapid's infamous "Picket Fence" set of rocks and getting knocked into the Class IV rapid contributed to their deaths, the Sheriff's Department announced.

Steven D. Hoyer, 57, of Spartanburg, S.C., was wearing a life jacket and helmet when rafters pulled his body from the river downstream of Blossom Bar on July 12. He was alone in his raft trying to free it from the Picket Fence when he somehow was thrown into the river.

Five days later, Steven Boyd, 66, from Walla Walla, Wash., apparently struck his head on a rock when he and two others were pitched into Rogue at the Picket Fence. Boyd and two others in the raft were wearing life jackets and the other two survived with minor injuries. In both fatalities, the men were pulled from the river unconscious.

Blossom Bar, the signature rapid of the Rogue's Wild and Scenic section, is about 52 miles east of Gold Beach. The thrill of negotiating a raft, driftboat or kayak through the multi-maneuver Blossom Bar draws experienced floaters from all corners of the country. However, the rapid also has earned the dubious distinction as the most dangerous within the 34-mile, three- to four-day float through the Wild and Scenic section.


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