At about 8:50 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, a man called 911 to report that his friend Bryton Schmidt, 21, of Vancouver, WA -- who had been tubing on the Clackamas River with the caller -- was missing.
The caller -- Taylor Young, a 21-year-old male from Vancouver, WA -- and Bryton Schmidt began a rafting trip on the Clackamas River on Sunday, Aug. 18. They launched from the Barton Park boat ramp at about 4 p.m., intending to float to Carver Park.
At some point along the trip, as it grew dark, and the two rafters became separated.
Bryton Schmidt was last seen walking through a shallow finger of the river, with a partially deflated float tube. He was not wearing a life jacket, and was reported to be heavily intoxicated.
It was unknown at the time if Mr. Schmidt attempted to continue downriver, or was able to exit the river on his own.
When Taylor Young made it to the Carver Park area and was unable to find his friend, he notified the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office at about 8:50 p.m. The Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium was activated, and began a search of the banks and water surface.
Due to the dangers associated with water conditions and darkness, divers were unable to conduct underwater operations. Mr. Schmidt was not located. The Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium remained in active search mode until SAR personnel decided to return at 8 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19 to continue the search.
The next morning, the missing rafter was located.
Around 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19, the Sheriff's Office received a report from a couple driving on Hwy. 224 near Carver of a male hitchhiker who appeared cold, dirty, and was only wearing shorts.
Deputies searched the area, but did not find the hitchhiker. About 45 minutes later, Bryton called his parents from his home in Battle Ground Washington. He is reported to be in good condition.
The family does not want media contact at this time, but wanted to pass on their thanks to the searchers and the media for their efforts.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office wishes to remind people to use the river responsibly. The river has dangers, and alcohol should be used in moderation. Also be aware of what time you leave, as navigation on the Clackamas River is even more dangerous in the dark.
Robert Wurpes, Sergeant
Office of Public Information
Clackamas County Sheriff's Office