A 62-year-old Colorado man, apparently scouting the turbulent upper Deschutes River for a kayak trip, died Saturday after he fell 40 to 50 feet from a cliff at Benham Falls into a shallow pool of water below, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said.
County dispatchers got a call shortly before 9 a.m. reporting the injured person later identified as Daniel D. Lowry of Dolores, Colorado, said sheriff’s Deputy Liam Klatt, assistant search and rescue coordinator.
An investigation found that Lowry was planning to kayak Benham Falls and likely was scouting the area in preparation when he fell, Klatt said, adding that there were no indications of foul play.
Due to limited access to the base of the cliff, the close proximity of the swift-moving whitewater and Lowry’s injuries, citizens on scene were unable to affect a safe rescue, the deputy said.
Deschutes County deputies and SAR units, Oregon State Police troopers, and Bend and Sunriver fire department medics all responded to the scene.
The Bend medics were able to reach Lowry and move him to safer ground, where they began resuscitation efforts, Klatt said. However, Lowry succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene.
Benham Falls is a scenic, popular recreation area with rapids on the Deschutes River, near Lava Butte between Bend and Sunriver.
The falls, located on the Deschutes National Forest and Newberry National Volcanic Monument, are rated Class 5 in terms of intensity, and are the largest on the upper Deschutes.