Accident Database

Report ID# 3748

  • Health Problem
  • Head Injury / Concussion
  • Heart Attack / Heart Failure
  • Other

Accident Description

Walla Walla man dies in rafting accident on Rogue River

Lori Tobias, The Oregonian

July 18, 2013

An experienced rafter died Wednesday afternoon while trying to negotiate a channel on the Blossom Bar stretch of the Rogue River known as Picket Fence, Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said. Steven Boyd, 66, of Walla Walla, was with a group of boaters when their raft hit a couple of boulders and was turned upside down. Boyd was thrown into the water and hit his head on a rock. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The others escaped with minor injuries. The Blossom Bar rapid is located 52 miles up the Rogue River from Gold Beach and is rated a class IV rapid and is considered extremely dangerous. Boyd was the second drowning in five days in the same location.


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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