The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office rescued two stranded boaters on the Clackamas River this weekend after their kayak capsized near Austin Hot Springs, located east of Estacada in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
The call came in Sunday, Feb. 2, from passers-by who saw two people on the opposite side of the Clackamas River, reportedly “waving a towel and yelling for help.”
The callers had been unable to communicate with the people on the other side due to the noise of the river, and had to drive several miles to the Ripple Brook Ranger station to get cell service for the 911 call. They also reported seeing two rafts downstream of the hot springs stuck in the rapids.
A water rescue was initiated, as it was unknown if anyone was in the water. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, there is no road access to the side of the river the subjects were on, so a river crossing would be needed.
The Clackamas Water Rescue Consortium responded, including rescuers from Clackamas Fire District 1, American Medical Response, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
When rescuers arrived, it was determined there was no one in the water and only two subjects that needed transported back across the river. Rescuers used a raft to cross the river and bring the two subjects back across safely. They were uninjured and reported they capsized their kayak trying to cross the river to get to the hot springs.
The two were identified as Mike Michell, 41, of Milwaukie, and Melissa Albee, 52, of Warren. They were treated at the scene and released.
Whether or not they ever made it those hot springs, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office did not report. We may never know.