86-year-old is Rogue's latest victim

SHADY COVE — An 86-year-old man drowned Friday afternoon after falling out of a raft on the Rogue River near Shady Cove, police said.

Wallace C. Wilson, of Shady Cove, and his wife were in a raft near the 24500 block of Highway 62 when the man tumbled into the current at around 3:30 p.m., Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters said.

The man's name was withheld by police late Friday pending the notification of next of kin, Winters said.

"At this point we don't know if he stood up in the raft or if he fell out some other way," Winters said.

The man was not wearing a life jacket, Winters said.

Passers-by on the riverbank heard the man's wife screaming for help as her husband drifted downstream and out of sight. She was wearing a life jacket, Winters said.

The man was pulled from the river by deputies with the Jackson County sheriff's marine unit. Emergency crews tried CPR but were not able to revive the man. He was pronounced dead 20 minutes after being pulled from the current.

The stretch of river does not have large rapids, though wearing a life jacket is a good idea when boating on a river, Winters said.

"This is the time of season when we unfortunately see a number of drownings in our rivers," Winters said. "We should remind people to always wear a personal flotation device no matter the river conditions."

This was the third local drowning this year, and the second on the Rogue River.

A 16-year-old North Medford High School student was swept away by the Applegate River after jumping from rocks into a popular swimming spot in May.

In late June a 52-year-old California woman died after she was thrown from her Tahiti raft in the Blossom Bar rapids in the lower Rogue River canyon. Her body remained in the river for more than a week before the rapids dislodged it from between two rocks.

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