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Woman rescued from island on rain-swollen Crooked River


Crook County officials on Tuesday rescued a Post-area ranch worker who went to rescue some cows stuck on an island in the rain-swollen Crooked River, was bucked off her horse and became stranded on an island herself.

Crook County 911 received a distress call about 10:20 a.m. from the Bonnieview Ranch in Post, Undersheriff James Savage said in a news release.

It was reported that a female had been “thrown” from her horse and was stranded on an island in the Crooked River.

Due to the warming weather and rain, the Crooked River above the Prineville Reservoir is swollen, creating several islands in the river.

Crook County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Manager Mike Ryan was in the area checking the high water and arrived on scene first. Crook County Fire and Rescue also responded, along with other sheriff’s deputies.

They learned that Kristine Voakes, 31, of Prineville had been working on the ranch and went to check on some cows who were stuck on an island in the river.

Vaokes and another rider had crossed a portion of the river on horseback, successfully making it to the first island. They then proceeded to a second island through a deeper, swifter channel, Savage said.

Both riders were bucked off their horses, landing in the water. The male rider made it safely back to shore with both horses, but Voakes became stranded and was wet and cold.

Crook County Search and Rescue was activated along with the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Swift Water Team.

The island that Kristine was stranded on was large enough for a safe helicopter landing. AirLink and Life Flight were both contacted to assist, but due to weather conditions, neither were able to make it to the location, Savage said.

Members of Crook County Fire and Rescue had some swift-water gear on their ambulance and had been trained on its use, the undersheriff said.

Sheriff’s deputies and fire personnel were able to be driven across the first crossing safely on a ranch tractor. A member of Crook County Fire and Rescue then deployed into the water and crossed the second, deeper and swifter crossing to where Voakes was stranded.

Voakes was placed into safety gear and a life vest and pulled back across the river by deputies and fire personnel. She was then driven back across the second crossing to a waiting ambulance.

Voakes was treated and released at the scene with no injuries, other than being cold, Savage said.

And what about those stranded cows? As it turned out, Savage said, “they made it to land by themselves.”

“There was a good outcome today, with no injuries,” Savage wrote in his news release. “But the sheriff would like to remind everyone that with the warming weather and rain, the rivers are running high. Please use caution around all the rising waterways.”

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