A Sad Story

Rogue River SM12-66

When I was up in the Crater Lake area back in June, I ran across a notice attached to a tree near Rogue Gorge:

The story is as follows:

UNION CREEK — After a night of searching for a man who slipped and fell Thursday into fast-moving rapids near the Rogue River Gorge, search-and-rescue crews from three counties called it quits Friday afternoon. The man, identified by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department as 21-year-old Pablo Murillo, was visiting from Mexico and had been touring the area with relatives. They were on their way back from Crater Lake when they stopped at the Gorge — just down the road from Beckie's Cafe, along the 56400 block of Highway 62 — to take a quick look around. At about 5:30 p.m., Murillo slipped, fell in and got pulled downstream by the current. Sheriff's officials said they believe he is dead. The rapids plunge over two 20-foot drops about 100 meters from where Murillo fell in. The water then shoots into a narrow section bordered on both sides by high rock walls. Officials said the water is moving from 20 to 25 mph. Snowmelt from the recent warming temperatures contributed to making the flow so fast that the water roars. "It wouldn't surprise me if it was between 35 and 40 degrees," said Graham Wilson, Jackson County Search and Rescue operations manager. Temperatures that low can cause a person's body to go numb in as little as three minutes, he said.

Union Creek enters the Rogue River just above Rogue Gorge. The photograph at the top of the page shows the stretch right after the entry point of Union Creek and right before the river falls into the narrow Rogue Gorge. Anyone falling into the river here is in a lot of trouble. The gorge itself, particularly in spring, is a point of fierce concentration, with a huge amount of water flowing through a tight space. It’s possible his body is still down there, pinned against some rocks. Here it the gorge itself:

These gorges of water are particularly dangerous and are known for devouring bodies. When I was at Glacier National Park, I heard a story of a girl who fell into Avalanche Gorge and was never found again:

Stranger still, I met someone who fallen in and survived!

Apparently, there was North Carolina visitor who fell into Rogue Gorge in 2008 and also survived:

This is not the first incident involving someone falling into the water near the Gorge. Those who fall in are typically sucked into lava tubes or smash into rocks along the river's stretch. In 2008, 16-year-old Vance Falls fell into the fast-moving river while visiting from North Carolina, but he survived.