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Troopers, Citizen Help Rescue Elderly Brookings-area Couple From Home Surrounded by Chetco River
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph link valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Two Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers with the help of a local citizen rescued an elderly couple from their Curry County-area home after spotting their home surrounded by rising water.
On January 19, 2012 at approximately 11:10 a.m. OSP Senior Trooper Jeff Johnson and Trooper Paul Rushton were patrolling in the 98000 block of North Bank Chetco River Road north of Brookings monitoring flooding when they saw an elderly woman walking outside of a home surrounded by the rising Chetco River. The water had risen so high that it covered a Volkswagen Bug vehicle in the backyard of the residence.
A local citizen identified as James Cross offered to help the troopers get to the woman and returned with a small aluminum boat and electric motor. Cross and the two troopers navigated the current over 100 yards to the house where they contacted an 80-year old man and 74-year old woman.
They had to make two separate trips to get the couple from their home across the water to the OSP vehicle. The current of the rising water was so fast that the electric motor alone couldn’t navigate across the water, so the troopers had to row in conjunction with the use of the small electric motor.
The couple was taken to a local motel where a local organization is paying for their overnight lodging.
Later in the afternoon, Senior Trooper Johnson returned to the area and saw the water had risen to the home’s foundation. A photograph taken at that time is provided with this release.