One of two Redmond men floating the Deschutes River on inner tubes northwest of town Friday afternoon fell into the water, then got pinned against a rock by the undercurrent, barely keeping his head above water until rescuers could free him, officials said.
Deschutes County 911 got a call shortly before 3 p.m. from Troy Monroe, 48, who said his friend, Duncan Girard, 34, fell off his inner tube and became wedged between two rocks in the middle of the river below the Odin Falls Ranch subdivision, near NW Grubstake Way, said sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Biondi, Search and Rescue operations manager.
Monroe said he had to hold onto Girard to keep the current from taking him underwater.
Paramedics from Redmond Fire and Rescue, five sheriff’s deputies and eight SAR members responded to the call, Biondi said.
Redmond Fire Battalion Chief Jon Wood said the floater became trapped in a narrow chute, pinning his body to underwater rocks. He said the man’s floating partner hiked out of the river canyon to call 911, then returned to help him.
When the Redmond fire personnel got to the scene, they could see Girard was barely able to keep his head above water and went under several times, the sergeant said.
The medics were able to reach Girard and hoist him into a nearby boulder in the middle of the river, officials said.
When members of the county’s Swift Water Rescue Team arrived, they provided Girard with a personal floatation device (PFD) with a harness attached to it. A line was attached to the harness and Girard was escorted across the river by the SAR team, then up the cliff, treated for minor injuries and released by paramedics.
Biondi said Girard told them his legs were pushed against the rock by an undercurrent and he was only able to keep his head above water by standing on his tiptoes on another rock.
Both men were wearing life vests, Biondi said, adding that alcohol was not believed to be a factor in the incident