Boys lucky to survive raft trip on Columbia, officials say

By Jacques Von Lunen, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 12, 2012, 10:03 PM

 

Two teens were lucky to survive a Columbia River joyride unscathed Sunday, officials said.

Fishermen spotted two boys floating down the fast-moving river on a makeshift raft just upstream of the Interstate 5 bridge, said Capt. Kevin Murray, Vancouver Fire Department.

By the time firefighters found the boys, their raft was stuck in pilings about half a mile downstream of the bridge. Luckily, the rickety craft, made from pieces of wood lashed together, had not capsized. The boys did not wear life jackets and had no oars or other means of steering, Murray said.

The boys have not been identified and are estimated to be 15 or 16 years old.

“This could have easily turned into a tragic event, with two families losing their children,” Murray said. “They were very fortunate.”

The boys told firefighters they’d found the raft on the river bank and “hopped on it,” he said.