Accident Database

Report ID# 4064

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Missing rafter's body recovered from S. Fork of Boise River

KTVB 3:46 PM. MDT July 05, 2016

ELMORE COUNTY - The Elmore County Sheriff's Office says searchers have recovered the body of a rafter from the South Fork of the Boise River.

Richard Arave, 61, went missing on June 26. Witnesses said he was on a raft attempting to negotiate the rapids at Buffalo Creek when the raft flipped and floated downstream. The rapids are about one-and-a-half miles upstream from the Neal Bridge on Blacks Creek Road.

The man was not seen again.

High flows on the river made recovery difficult. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation assisted in the recovery by lowering the flow from Anderson Ranch Dam.

Once the water levels dropped to under 1,000 cubic feet per second, the remains were spotted tangled in a log in the rapids. The recovery was made without incident on June 30 at 4:50 p.m.

The remains were taken to the Neal Bridge by raft and then transported to the Elmore County Coroner's Office.

Elmore County Search and Rescue and Mark Angel with White Water Salvage helped recover the man's body.

Missing rafter’s body located on South Fork but not yet recovered


Richard Arave fell off his raft Sunday and was swept away in rapids on the Boise River in Elmore County Crews located Arave’s body Tuesday but were unable to recover it because of dangerous conditions It was the second reported rafting accident in that stretch of river since the end of May.

Authorities will resume recovery efforts Wednesday for a man who fell off a raft Sunday while going through rapids at Buffalo Creek on the South Fork of the Boise River in Elmore County. Richard Arave was rafting with his son Sunday evening when the raft overturned and Arave disappeared in the rapids, Elmore County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Barclay said. The sheriff’s office and search and rescue crews worked with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to slow the water flow Tuesday. The process took about nine hours to drop the water levels enough to safely sweep the area of interest to locate the victim, according to an ECSO news release. Early Tuesday afternoon searchers located Arave’s body “in a very swift and a dangerous area on the river,” according to the news release. Recovery efforts were suspended until Wednesday because of a serious risk to personnel, the sheriff’s office reports. Plans call for dropping water levels again Wednesday, starting first thing in the morning, the sheriff’s office reports. Recovery efforts are focused about 1.5 miles upstream from Neal Bridge. The incident was reported as a possible drowning about 7:45 p.m. Sunday. Witnesses told officers that the man’s raft overturned about a mile and a half upstream from the bridge on Blacks Creek Road. The raft continued floating on the water but witnesses said they did not see the man after he went into the water, the sheriff’s office reports.

Searchers combed the river from the Danskin Bridge to Arrowrock Reservoir, using a boat, raft and a drone. Air St. Luke’s used an aircraft to fly over the area. On May 31, a man was rescued along the same stretch of river. The man suffered a broken leg in that rafting accident. Authorities urge floaters to use extreme caution. River levels have been high, and obstructions have been constantly pushed downstream by the force of the water, they said Read more here:

ELMORE COUNTY - Elmore County deputies suspended recovery efforts on Tuesday to pull a man's body from the South Fork of the Boise River because the conditions are just too dangerous. This, after officials searched for the body of a Boise man who disappeared after his raft overturned on Sunday.

The rafter has been identified as 61-year-old Richard Arave. According to the Elmore County Sheriff's Office, Arave was floating the river in the Buffalo Creek area with his son and a friend when the rafting accident happened.

"The son and the friend had gotten out of the raft and were unsure to my understanding," said Sgt. Michael Gelalia. "He was going through the rapids solo and the raft overturned and he got thrown out." 

Arave's body was discovered Tuesday morning around 9, pinned beneath a log in the river. That part of the river is a very swift and dangerous area.

"The river is constantly changing and when something obstructs it, it creates undertows and currents and other things that can make it dangerous," said Elmore County Sheriff Rick Layher.

The sheriff's office and search and rescue teams worked with the Bureau of Reclamation to slow the water flow in order to make it easier to locate Arave. They say this process alone took nine hours.

"If it's in fast water and you go by them, you can't go back with the raft," said Layher. "You can get to shore and try to walk, but as you see in this country if it's real steep it would be pretty hard, and it's a lot steeper up the canyon."

Elmore County officials say they are working with the Bureau of Reclamation to lower the water again on Wednesday to attempt a recovery effort. They are also asking that anyone who was planning to head to the Boise River to stay clear of the South Fork until that happens.

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