Man Dies in Boating Accident
The man who died following a boating accident on Monday was identified as Jon Van Valkenburg, 54, of Medford. The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the manner of death to be an accident, and the cause of death to be drowning.
Marine patrol deputies learned Van Valkenburg was fishing with his adult son in a raft on the Rogue River in Shady Cove. Van Valkenburg pulled on a rope to retrieve the anchor, became tangled in the rope, and was pulled overboard. Van Valkenburg was apparently unable to free himself; the rope was wrapped around his hand and the current held him underwater.
Fire District #4 rescue personnel found Van Valkenburg submerged and unresponsive. They freed him from the rope and began resuscitation.
Deputies say Van Valkenburg was wearing an inflatable personal flotation device (PFD); however, the device was not inflated, rendering it ineffective. 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.
Original release, 7/22/19:
SHADY COVE, Ore. – A man died Monday while boating in the Rogue River in Shady Cove. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) marine patrol deputies are investigating the incident.
On July 22, 2019, at 11:47 a.m., a man called 911 to report his father was drowning. The caller told dispatch that that victim had gone underwater with his hand caught on the boat’s anchor rope. He was reportedly not wearing a life jacket.
Personnel from JCSO, Fire District #4, and Mercy Flights responded to the location, approximately one-quarter mile downstream from the Upper Rogue River Park boat ramp. Rescue personnel retrieved the unresponsive victim from the water and attempted resuscitation.
The victim was transported by ambulance from the boat ramp to Providence Medford Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the hospital.
JCSO marine patrol deputies continue to investigate the boating accident. No further information is available for release at this time.