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One Dead, 23 Rescued after Footbridge CollapsesKevin Hays Salem-News.com
Rescuers worked for several hours to assist the stranded people across the river.
(MOUNT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST ) - A thunderstorm with heavy rain led to a flash flood of the Sandy River at Ramona Falls Tuesday afternoon washed out a footbridge that claimed the life of one man, and left 23 others to be rescued.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office received a 9-1-1 call just before 3:00 p.m. about the bridge collapse, and that one person may have fallen into the water. Members of the Clackamas County Water Rescue Team responded with Search and Rescue Deputies and U.S. Forest Service personnel.
However, due to the remote area where the bridge collapsed, the witness who called 9-1-1 had to hike over a mile to get to their vehicle, and then drive several miles before they could get cell phone service to call for help, police said.
Several teams of rescuers were sent to the washed out bridge location, while others searched the river bank down stream. When rescuers arrived at Ramona Falls, they found several people on the other side of the river and unable to cross due to the high water. There was no sign of the male who was on the bridge when it collapsed, and fell into the water.
Rescuers later discovered a male body in the river over a mile down stream of Ramona Falls. The male was deceased, and identified as the 35-year-old male who had been on the bridge when it washed out.
Rescuers worked for several hours to assist the stranded people across the river. Using two rapid deployment crafts, which are small rafts designed for swift water rescue, they ferried people across. 23 people along with their gear were ferried across uninjured.
Police added that the thunderstorm caused heavy rains which raised the river level several feet in a short amount of time, and is to blame for washing out the bridge.
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