A Vancouver woman is missing after falling into the Willamette River after her float tube snagged on a root ball on the Willamette River near Buena Vista Park south of Independence, Ore., on Saturday. Search operations are continuing today.
The Polk County, Ore., Sheriff’s Office said Tracy Allen, 37, was floating the river with friends on Saturday afternoon when their series of interconnected float tubes ran into a large root ball snag just off the west shore of Wells Island.
Shortly before 4 p.m. today, the sheriff’s office sent out a release saying the operation was switching from a search and rescue operation to a recovery one.
The office will send divers from two boats to the area where Allen was last seen. While Allen was wearing a life vest at the time she went into the water, “the heavy current flowing into and around a large debris field made up of trees and roots was substantial enough to hold her under water, particularly if snagged,” the release said.
Two women floating with Allen were able to get to shallow water and make it to the island, but Allen was not seen again after going into the water. Two other women who had separated from the series of float tubes were able to avoid the snag, according to the sheriff’s office.
An extensive search of the area by multiple agencies using boats, a drone, side-scan radar and ground search teams were unable to locate Allen. The search was also aided by a REACH Air Medical Services helicopter but was called off at nightfall, the sheriff’s office reported.