Eight people had to evacuate their boat and climb onto a log jam in the middle of the Snake River Friday afternoon during a guided rafting trip to avoid being tossed overboard.
The group, guided by Jackson Hole Whitewater, was making its way from Wilson to South Park when the raft got tangled in the log jam, which was surrounded by Class II rapids.
The guide ended up downstream, unable to help his clients.
“His boat got hung up and started taking on water,” Teton County Search and Rescue Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart said. “He evacuated eight passengers onto the log jam.”
The eight passengers stayed on the log jam while the guide tried to salvage the raft.
“He and his boat got spit out downstream,” Lockhart said. “He couldn’t get back to his party.”
The guide was able to navigate his raft to shore about 200 feet downstream. Other boats came along and saw the stranded party but were unable to help them, Lockhart said.
Around 5:30 p.m., Teton County Search and Rescue sent personnel in jet boats. It took two or three trips to get all eight people to safety.
“We shuttled folks to a boat landing on the Snake River Ranch,” Lockhart said, about halfway between Wilson and South Park.
The stranded boaters were cold and scared but weren't hurt.
“Some of the folks were older and in jeans and tennis shoes,” Lockhart said.
The trip is advertised as scenic but there are some smaller rapids on the stretch.
The guide was the only person rowing, Lockhart said.
“This time of year there are some strainers, which are dangerous features,” he said.
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