The body of a rafter missing since Sunday was located and recovered on Tuesday, September 5 just above Box Car Rapids on the Deschutes River, officials said. A Warm Springs man was rafting with eight friends and family members when his raft flipped over at the top of Wapinitia Rapids.
Everyone on the non-guided excursion was thrown out of the raft, but 31-year-old Eligio Santos did not surface. According to Detective Alan Birchfield with the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office, Santos was not wearing a life jacket.
Wasco County Deputies and Wasco County Sheriff’s Volunteer Search and Rescue responded to the scene but were unable to locate the victim on Sunday or Monday. Tuesday they continued the search aided by two local divers, the Bureau of Land Management and Warm Springs Tribal personnel, and located the body at 2 p.m. about one quarter mile downstream from where he was last seen.
Santos, who worked for the Warm Springs Natural Resources Division, was one of three drowning victims in the area of Wapinitia Rapids this year. All three involved either individuals not wearing a life jacket or improper use of a personal flotation device, said Chief Deputy Steve Conover.