Searchers return to river to look for man presumed drowned

Josephine County dive team volunteers plan to return to the Rogue River this afternoon to continue searching for a 43-year-old Grants Pass man who jumped in the river in Hellgate Canyon Wednesday and is presumed drowned.

Steve Douglas Reed leaped into the water Wednesday evening at a point south of the Hog Creek boat landing, about 100 yards into the canyon where the river roils deep and narrow, Josephine County Undersheriff Don Fasching said.

Reed and a 40-year-old friend spent Wednesday along the river, drinking and jumping from the banks at various locations to swim, Fasching said.

When Reed didn't resurface, his friend called to a passing Hellgate Jetboat Excursion boat operator, who radioed the information to rescue crews at 7:36 p.m. Wednesday.

Marine deputies floated the river until dark searching for Reed. Thursday, divers searched in the treacherous current and waters ranging from 60 to 110 deep, Fasching said.

"It's one of the deepest parts and one of the most hazardous areas of the river," he said.

In addition to divers working this afternoon, a private helicopter has volunteered to search from above. If the body isn't spotted today, officials will end the search until new evidence emerges that can lead to recovering Reed's body.

— Anita Burke

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