A Grants Pass man drowned Monday afternoon during a Middle Rogue Steelheaders fishing club outing when his boat got tangled in the branches of a tree in the Rogue River west of Merlin.
Geoffrey Lee Wood, 71, was dead when he was pulled from the river by other members of the group, the Josephine County Sheriff's Department said in a news release today.
The sheriff's department received a report at 2:15 p.m. of a boat overturned in the Rogue River upstream from the Robertson Bridge Boat Ramp. A marine deputy was at the ramp and spotted a life jacket, oar and Thermos floating down the river, the news release said.
Wood was with two other men when their boat got hung up on the branches of a tree near a bend of the river several hundred yards upstream from the boat landing. All went into the water. Wood's fellow boaters hung onto the tree and were rescued, but Wood floated downstream, his life jacket not inflated, fishermen with the group told the Grants Pass Daily Courier.
The Courier reported that men in a second boat had tried to free Wood's entangled boat, but were unable to.
Another boat pulled the two men clinging to the tree's limbs to safety. Wood was pulled to shore downstream, but had no pulse.