NEAR SAMS VALLEY, Ore. — Ken Evangelisti took his kids out on the water Sunday.
“Being a dad I just said okay, let’s go. But it wasn’t the smartest choice,” he said. All five of them were in a small boat on the quick-moving Rogue River, when they were stopped in their tracks.
“We were going straight down and we hit a rock and it kind of threw us sideways and hung us up on a rock. It wasn’t really a bunch of violent stuff, it just threw us and we were stuck.”
Evangelisti and his four sons were stuck in roughly 40 degree waters. “We just started yelling help,” he said. That was enough to scare them. “Really paranoid I mean Hayden wasn’t…he wasn’t being calm at all, he was crying instantly.”
A neighbor heard the calls for help and dialed 911. More than 20 crew members from local agencies responded for the rescue at the Dodge Bridge boat ramp.
“A little less than a mile down stream, we located the victims standing in a boat submerged in a rapid, in a pretty difficult area with the water flows and stuff. We were able to get our raft, get it to the victims, get them in the raft and get them to shore within just a few minutes,” said Fire District 3 Battalion Chief Rod Edwards.
The family was not injured. Evangelisti plans to hit the water on a warmer day with a bigger boat.
Photojournalist Michael Cooper contributed to this story.