Sheriff’s Office Warns of Dangerous River Conditions Following Search for Missing Rafters

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UPDATE (May 24, 2023): One missing rafter found deceased

Please reference CCSO Case #23-010548

At approximately 1:40 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, a U.S. Forest Service officer located one of the two missing rafters. The subject was deceased.

The man's body was found in the Clackamas River, caught up in what is called a "strainer" -- a series of logs and debris blocking a portion of the river.

Members of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Dive/Water Rescue Team responded to the scene and were able to remove the body from the water. A Clackamas County Deputy Medical Examiner also responded to the scene to lead the investigation.

Family notifications are now complete, and the located subject can now be identified as Vasiliy Zagreychuk, 65, of Gresham.

The body was found approximately 2.8 miles downriver from the rope crossing where the incident began on May 19.

While active search efforts were officially suspended Saturday night, May 20, members of the Forest Service and Sheriff's Office continue to periodically search the area for the second missing rafter in the hope that it will help bring closure to the family. Updates will be provided as available.

Additional interviews have expanded and clarified our understanding of the accident timeline. On May 19, one subject fell out of the raft at the rope crossing; the survivor and Vasiliy Zagreychuk then reportedly floated downstream a half-mile or more before the raft flipped and they both also fell into the river. The May 23 recovery location is about 2 miles from where the raft flipped.

Our original May 21 release on the search effort is below.



EARLIER (Sunday, May 21): Sheriff’s Office Warns of Dangerous River Conditions Following Search for Missing Rafters

On Friday, May 19, 2023, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of two missing persons who were trying to cross the Clackamas River to access Austin Hot Springs by raft. A 61-year-old man told authorities he was trying to cross the river to reach the hot springs early that morning when the raft flipped, sending all the men down the river. The lone survivor searched the area, but was unable to locate the other members of his party, who are brothers, ages 66 and 67. He was eventually assisted by another group who offered to take him into town.

Later that day, the missing party’s vehicle was located on a Forest Service Road and when it was determined that two men were still missing, Clackamas County Search and Rescue (CSAR) was activated to search for them. Searchers were limited by diminishing daylight and swift moving and extremely high river conditions, but they continued to search well into the overnight hours to locate the missing brothers.

Search efforts continued on Saturday morning with help from CSAR volunteers, Mountain Wave Emergency Communications, Hood River County Sheriff’s Office aircraft, and drones. The two missing men were not located.

The Sheriff’s Office is warning people recreating along the Clackamas River to use extreme caution as river levels are high and the currents are moving very quickly. Water temperatures are also still very cold. It should also be noted that Austin Hot Springs is private property and is closed to all public use. Do not visit this site.

Please reference CCSO Case #23-0010548


Brian McCall, Public Information Officer

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office