Floater rescued above Colorado Dam spillway

Was found clinging to a rock beneath bridge

BEND, Ore. - A Deschutes River floater who was unable to get out at the designated takeout above Bend's Colorado Avenue bridge was found clinging "tenuously" to a rock about 50 feet above the dam spillway Thursday afternoon, prompting a rope rescue operation, fire officials said.

Firefighters responded around 2:25 p.m. to the report of a man stuck on the Colorado spillway, just upstream of McKay Park, said Capt. Mike King.

The man, who authorities did not identify, was spotted beneath the bridge, about 50 feet above the spillway – still on his float tube, "avoiding going over the spillway by tenuously holding onto a rock," King said.

Bend Fire and Rescue crews were able to lower a floating rope to the man and help him reach shore, the captain said.

Planning is under way for a voter-approved effort to both make the area safer for river floaters, with a special bypass for tubers, and also to create a whitewater "surf park" for paddling enthusiasts.

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