Search and Rescue teams from Lincoln, Benton, and Lane counties are continuing to search stretches of Drift Creek, south of Toledo and north of Alsea Bay for any sign of two males in a canoe that set out for a quick jaunt down Drift Creek yesterday. They failed to show up at their planned pick-up point last evening. The two had planned to navigate up to 20 miles of the creek before pulling out near Bayview Road near Waldport. The Coast Guard has assisted in the search with one of their large helicopters. They are in the air right now (3:27pm) over the search area. The terrain is extremely rugged with views from logging roads down into the creekshed very obscured by thick undergrowth. Search teams say continued favorable weather will aid in their search and make it more likely that the two men could still be alive.
Search crews report that there are many downed trees in the area, lying across the creek from last month’s wind storms. Crews say it raises concerns that the two could have collided with one of the trees and overturned their craft. Search crews report that water levels in Drift Creek are much higher than normal as Winter snows and high groundwater fill Oregon’s coastal rivers and streams.
Linn and Benton County Search and Rescue teams have joined up as one team to search for two missing canoeists who left the Toledo area yesterday on a Drift Creek run down to where it joins the Alsea River. Lane County Search and Rescue is just now coming on scene. Law enforcement is discouraging help in that the terrain is very rough – steep dropoffs and unstable soils. Family members and friends have been discouraged from going out on their own to look.
As a matter of course, Search and Rescue teams need to focus on who they’re looking for and not be sidetracked if others, not equipped or experienced enough to search, gets into trouble themselves. The terrain up there is as tough as it gets in Oregon.
Search and Rescue personnel are trying to find two overdue canoeists who set out on Drift Creek, up Thousand Line Road yesterday, south of Toledo. They were supposed to work their way toward the Alsea River and meet their pick-up party there but didn’t show last evening. Authorities say it’s a 20 mile run on the creek and water levels are very high, much higher than normal. They add that there are many downed trees along the creek which pose a danger to anyone on the water, like if they’re swept under a fallen tree and get trapped underneath.
Lane and Benton County Search and Rescue are expected to join the search this morning. Authorities say the terrain is very steep and as they hike along the upper road, they can’t always see the creek below. So they’re doing a lot of hill climbing. The Coast Guard was expected to launch a helicopter and search the area from the air.