Six adults and five children were rescued early Wednesday morning, the day after their raft overturned, forcing them to spend a wet, chilly night on the banks of the swollen Green River.
Daggett County sheriff’s spokeswoman Susie Potter said search-and-rescue workers initially were called out about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, after the party was reported overdue for its planned rendezvous with other family members in the Little Hole area.
A helicopter spotted the rafters, stranded about 3 miles upriver from Little Hole, in a remote stretch of the river that rescuers could not reach by land, Potter said.
Attempts to communicate by crew members who landed on the other side of the river were impossible due to the noise of the water.
Once the safety of all members of the party was confirmed, the helicopter dropped coats, blankets, fire-starting gear, food and water to the rafters — along with a note assuring them rescuers would return at daylight.
About 7 a.m. Wednesday, rescuers in two drift boats and a rubber raft reached the rafters and picked them up.
No injuries were reported, though some of rafters —all of who are from Salt Lake County — ended up being treated for slight hypothermia before their release.
Sheriff Jerry Jorgensen said the incident underscored the current danger of the river due to increased water releases from Flaming Gorge dam.
Monday night, a 62-year-old Salt Lake City man drowned when his raft got stuck in debris on the river. He 13-year-old son was able to swim to safety.
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