Accident Database

Report ID# 9079

  • PFD Fell Off
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Eugene man missing after kayak capsizes on Owyhee River

by The Associated Press

ROME, Ore. (AP) — Authorities are searching for a 31-year-old Eugene man whose kayak overturned on the Owyhee River in southeastern Oregon. Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe tells The Argus Observer the man was part of a group that entered the river at Rome. The inflatable kayak capsized after the man went into a popular rapid called Bullseye.

The emergency call came in Tuesday night and searchers spent Wednesday and Thursday combing a 50-mile stretch of river that includes tight canyons. Aircraft helped those searching by boat. The terrain is too difficult to do ground searches.

The sheriff has not released the man's name. He said the group included experienced kayakers who had floated the Owyhee many times before.

Information from: Argus Observer,


Search is on for missing river floater

Leslie Thompson The Argus Observer

ROME — Malheur County Search and Rescue crews are actively searching for a 31-year-old male who has gone missing on the Owyhee River. The Eugene man, whose name has not been released, was floating the river Tuesday when his boat capsized, and he disappeared.

He was in a group of four, who had entered the river at Rome and were bound to Birch Creek, according to Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe. “His inflatable kayak capsized, and he went out of the boat and has not been seen since.”

This reportedly happened when the man went into a popular rapid called Bullseye, Wolfe said.

The only sign they have seen of the man is his floatation device, “which somehow came off of him and was found down the river,” he said.

Wolfe said the call came in at 7 p.m. Tuesday and resources were immediately sent to Birch Creek. That included the search and rescue coordinator and volunteer, as well as a deputy who went with an employee from the Bureau of Land Management, “who floats weekly on the river,” he said.

“They got on the river first thing yesterday morning, and they are still on the river floating and looking for the individual,” Wolfe told the Argus in a phone interview this morning.

Searchers also used aircraft in Wednesday’s search efforts and, weather permitting, they plan to do the same today, as well as sending down another group, Wolfe said. The terrain is too difficult to do ground searches along the river.

The area they are combing is a 50-mile stretch of river and “some of it is sheer rock walls that you can’t get around without being in the river,” Wolfe said. “There are real tight canyons, straight up and down rock walls, and no trails along the river in many areas.”

There were about 30 floaters on the river on Wednesday, Wolfe said, and at this time, officials are not discouraging people from recreating.

“Unfortunately these things happen,” he said. “This particular group floated the Owyhee nine times in the past. They were experienced. … This isn’t one of those cases where they were inexperienced and unprepared people.”

Wolfe called the event very unfortunate.

River flows are lower now (1,700 cfs on Wednesday) than they had been this spring, but that doesn’t help.

“It’s a very swift, fast running river,” Wolfe said.

The 50-mile stretch crews are searching has three or four class 3 rapids and one or two class 4 rapids, he said.

“It can be a technical river to run with the different rocks and hydraulics,” he said.

In recent years, the drought has meant fewer numbers of rescues on the Owyhee, but the average is one per year, Wolfe said.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” he said. “It’s a priority for our office to get him recovered for the family.”

Leslie Thompson is the interim editor at The Argus Observer. She can be reached at (541) 823-4814 or by emailing To comment on this story, go to


Missing man’s body found on Owyhee River

  • The Argus Observer
  • Jun 8, 2017

ROME — The body of a Eugene man who disappeared a week ago while floating on the Owyhee River has been recovered.The body of Cameron Deane, 31, was spotted by floaters on the river Monday, said Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe in a phone interview with the Argus Wednesday.

Personnel from the sheriff’s office were able to secure the body on Tuesday. It was taken by raft to Birch Creek by Oregon State Police where it was being picked up by the sheriff’s office Wednesday.Deane’s body was taken to a local funeral home and arrangements are being made with another funeral home in the area where he lived, Wolfe said.

Deane was said to be a Marine, however, it was unknown whether he was on active duty, Wolfe added.A post on Cameron Deane’s Facebook page on May 28 states, “On my way to the Owyhee River with my dad, Lyle and Steve. Going to be gone for the week. Hope you all have a wonderful week. Will be in and out of service during the trip and completely off grid when I get there. I will post pictures when I get back to society.”

Deane was floating the river May 30 when his boat capsized, and he disappeared. His body was found about 3 miles from where his vessel flipped.He had been floating the Owyhee in a group of four, who had entered the river at Rome and were bound to Birch Creek.Deane’s inflatable kayak capsized when the man went into a popular rapid called Bullseye, Wolfe said.

The emergency call about Deane came in at about 7 p.m. May 30. Since then, search and rescue efforts have been conducted by water and air, as the terrain was too difficult to search by foot.Deane’s family and friends from Eugene offered to participate in the search, however, Wolfe said there was really nothing they could do. “So we took care of it,” he said.

Wolfe called the event very unfortunate and adds that the sheriff’s office is glad Deane was recovered.“The family can now progress in their grieving process. It’s a terrible thing for a family to have to wait and wait and wait for their loved ones,” he said.


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