Body of swimmer found below Hellgate

The Josephine County Sheriff's Department recovered the body of a swimmer who drowned in Hellgate Canyon on July 23.

Marine deputies, a search and rescue team and Rural Metro Fire Department worked together Monday to retrieve the body of Steve Reed, 43, when it was spotted.

The Grants Pass man and a 40-year-old friend had spent last Wednesday along the river, drinking and jumping from the banks at various locations to swim, officials reported last week. In the evening, Reed made his big jump about 100 yards into the canyon, south of the Hog Creek boat landing, and didn't resurface.

Deputies and volunteers searched from boats until dark that night, then divers plumbed the depths Thursday and Friday. An aerial search by helicopter was conducted Friday, too, but no sign of Reed was seen. The search was halted until new evidence emerged.

The body was spotted Monday afternoon above the Hellgate Bridge and just below Hellgate Canyon by a man walking on the banks of the Rogue River with his dog, sheriff's deputies reported. The man told authorities that passing jet boats roiled up a wake and he saw the body surface.

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