Investigators identify man killed in Rogue River boating accident

Rescuers were unable to revive the man despite recovering him from the water.

Posted: Jul 22, 2019 2:40 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2019 12:08 PM


UPDATE: Following an investigation, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) has released more details about the death of a man boating along the Rogue River on Monday.

54-year-old Jon Van Valkenburg of Medford died of accidental drowning, the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office found.

Marine patrol deputies say that Van Valkenburg was out fishing with his adult son in a raft on the Rogue River. When tried to pull up the anchor rope, he became tangled and was pulled into the water.

"Van Valkenburg was apparently unable to free himself; the rope was wrapped around his hand and the current held him underwater," JCSO said in a statement.

Rescuers from Fire District 4 pulled Van Valkenburg from the water, but he was unresponsive. They disentangled him from the rope and tried to revive him.

"Deputies say Van Valkenburg was wearing an inflatable personal flotation device (PFD); however, the device was not inflated, rendering it ineffective," JCSO said. "While PFD use may not have affected the outcome in this case due to the mechanism of the accident, deputies remind people that it is best to use inherently buoyant Type I PFD’s when boating on rivers."

(Updated 7/23/19 at 12 p.m.)

INITIAL REPORT: A man died on Monday following a boating accident on the Rogue River near Shady Cove, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO).

Dispatch received a call just before noon with a man reporting that his father was drowning. The man said that his father had gone underwater with his hand caught on the boat's anchor rope.

"He was reportedly not wearing a life jacket," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Marine deputies, firefighters and paramedics responded to the area, which was about a quarter-mile downstream from the Upper Rogue River Park boat ramp. Rescuers were able to pull the unresponsive man from the water and began trying to resuscitate him.

The victim was brought by ambulance from the boat ramp to Providence Medford Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The Sheriff's Office said that an investigator with the the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the hospital.

JCSO marine patrol deputies are still investigating the incident.

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