David S. Brown
SUBJECT: River Accident
At approximately 1500 hours on Sunday April 27, 2003, the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a rafting accident on the Wind River just North of Carson WA. Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Divers responded to the scene and began searching the area where the rafter was last seen. As of darkness, there had been no success in locating the missing rafter, Lauren Orton, 32 years of age, from Portland OR.
Orton was one of 4 people who were part of a guided raft trip sponsored by All Star Rafting from Mosier OR. According to the witnesses at the scene, the raft hit a rock in the river causing Orton and a second female to be ejected. One subject was able to navigate to the shore and was picked up by the remaining subjects in the raft. Orton was observed going over a 4-6 foot drop in the river but she did not surface. Witnesses stated that the helmet and life jacket, worn by Orton, did surface quickly after she went under water. The rafting crew searched the immediate area for approximately 30 minutes before proceeding downstream and contacted authorities.
Skamania County Sheriff’s Divers and members of Wind River Search and Rescue from Carson WA, searched the area Sunday afternoon and into the evening. The search effort was suspended until 9:00AM Monday. Sheriff’s divers resumed searching this morning but had no success. At 1500 hours this afternoon, the search efforts were again suspended.
“The conditions of the river in the area where Orton was last seen are extremely turbulent. It is difficult to navigate the divers into the area where we believe Orton may be.”
Efforts are underway to secure the assistance of a whitewater rescue team from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. If these resources can be obtained it will allow divers and rescue personnel better access to the rapids area where Orton was last seen.
End Press Release
Number since 04/29/03