Battle Ground man found after being reported missing on Clackamas River

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: August 19, 2013, 9:30 PM

 

A Battle Ground man who was reported missing Sunday evening after inner-tubing on the Clackamas River in Oregon safely made his way home Monday morning.

Bryton Schmidt, 21, went rafting with his friend, Taylor Young, 21, of Vancouver, on Sunday, launching from Barton Park about 4 p.m. The two intended to float to Carver Park, about 10 miles down the Clackamas River.

When they became separated and Schmidt didn’t show up at Carver Park, Young reported him missing about 8:50 p.m.

Schmidt had last been seen walking through a shallow section of the river with a partially deflated float tube. He was not wearing a life jacket and was reportedly heavily intoxicated, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Crews from the Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium responded and searched the banks and water for Schmidt until 11:30 p.m., when the search was called off.

The search was set to resume at 8 a.m. Monday, but that ended up being unnecessary.

About 7 a.m., the sheriff’s office received a call from a citizen who reported seeing a man matching Schmidt’s description hitchhiking along Highway 224 near Carver. He was described as appearing cold, dirty and only wearing shorts.

“They said, ‘We’re about 90 percent sure that’s him,’” Clackamas County Sgt. Robert Wurpes said. Authorities searched the area but didn’t find Schmidt.

About 45 minutes later, Schmidt called his parents, who were with rescue crews along the river.

Schmidt had slept along the river Sunday night and hitchhiked his way to his Battle Ground residence, Wurpes said. He was reportedly in good condition.

“We were meeting to come up with a plan for the search. Fortunately, all that wasn’t necessary,” Wurpes said.

Wurpes reminded community members to be responsible with alcohol consumption and mindful of what time you’re leaving for an outing.

“These guys ran out of daylight and that compounded the problem,” he said.