Medford man drowns in the Rogue below Rainie Falls

GRAVE CREEK — A 24-year-old Medford man drowned Saturday in the Rogue River below Rainie Falls, a Class 5 rapid two miles downstream from Grave Creek boat landing.

Juan Carlos Hernandez-Nunez and a cousin swam across the river a few hundred feet below the falls, then tried to swim back, said Cory Krauss, coordinator of Josephine County Search and Rescue.

The cousin made it back across the river, started getting dressed, and heard Hernandez-Nunez jump in the river.

But he disappeared a short time later.

Friends and bystanders found Hernandez-Nunez unconscious and unresponsive a short time later, on the south side of the river, and started CPR.

They were unable to revive him.

Nearly 90 minutes after 911 was called, a seven-person rescue team of firefighters and medics arrived, but it was too late to help.

The recovery process lasted until well after midnight, Krauss said.

The incident is a reminder of lack of cellphone service in that area, and that swimming in the Rogue this time of year is a huge risk.

The man had no lifejacket. Cold water and the powerful current must be respected, Krauss noted.

"This is not the time to be swimming in the river," Krauss said.

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