Finding closure

GRANTS PASS — The volunteer helicopter pilot who spotted the Kim family last December has donated his service again to help another family find their missing relative.

This time, John Rachor spotted a body.

Rachor, 59, of Medford, found the body of Craig McGoogan in the Rogue River, stuck in a log jam about two miles downstream from Chinook Park, where McGoogan was swimming last Friday.

Josephine County search and rescue divers spent two full days and parts of two more looking for McGoogan, and a side-scanning SONAR was used Tuesday in the 40-foot-deep hole below Chinook Park where McGoogan was last seen.

McGoogan, 41, was at the park with a friend, when he swam across the river below the boat ramp, then got back in the river and was swept downstream. He was intoxicated, witnesses said, and had no life jacket.

Rachor is a member of the Jackson County search and rescue unit but was flying on his own Thursday morning when he spotted the body.

He said he has used his own helicopter on nine or 10 searches over the years.

"I'm always worried about the family," Rachor said. "They need closure."

Rachor, who owns several fast food restaurants in Medford, has a home in Agness and frequently flies his helicopter along the Rogue River.

After the Kim family of San Francisco was missing for more than a week following last Thanksgiving, Rachor flew his helicopter along a remote U.S. Bureau of Land Management road and spotted Katie Kim waving an umbrella on Dec. 4, leading to her rescue with her two young children.

Two days later, James Kim, a San Francisco online editor, was found dead in Big Windy Creek not far from Black Bar Lodge. He had walked more than 20 miles to try to find help for his wife and two young daughters, and died of exposure.

The Kim search drew national attention and resulted in legislation streamlining communications between search and rescue units.

Rachor said he would have joined the search for McGoogan earlier but he was in Agness until Tuesday this week.

"I told them they can use me anytime," Rachor said.

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