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Washington State AP Wire
Woman missing after rafting accident on Wind River

04/29/2003

Associated Press

A 32-year-old woman was missing and presumed drowned after being thrown from a raft during a whitewater trip down the Wind River in Skamania County.

Lauren Orton of Portland, Ore., was one of four people in the raft Sunday, when it struck a rock and tossed her and another woman out, Skamania County Sheriff Dave Brown said.

The other woman swam to shore, but Orton was carried over a 6-foot waterfall near the High Bridge, about two miles north of Carson, east of Stevenson.

Orton's life vest and helmet floated to the surface nearby, but there was no sign of her.

About a dozen volunteers from the Skamania County Dive Team and Wind River Search and Rescue searched Sunday afternoon and Monday, hiking into the area carrying scuba equipment.

She had not been found as of Monday evening, a dispatcher said.

Brown said Orton was one of three clients taking a ride down the popular whitewater river with guide Dave Slover of Mosier, Ore., west of The Dalles.

After putting the raft into the river at Stabler, about eight miles north of Carson, Brown said they made it five or six miles before the accident.

Brown said he believes Orton's body was caught underwater just below the waterfall where she was last seen.

"That water is so turbulent that we cannot get the divers in to where we need them to be," he said.

Information from: The Columbian

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