BEND, Ore. -

Exploring along the banks of the Deschutes River is usually a placid, familiar activity for locals and visitors alike. But two men, from Bend and Redmond, ended up seeking rescuers’ help Thursday evening when they climbed to the wrong spot – a beaver dam – got attacked by a protective beaver and fell into the water, authorities said.


Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched shortly before 7 p.m. to a possible water rescue in the area of Lava Island Falls, south of Bend, said sheriff’s Sgt. William Bailey.

The caller told dispatchers that Clayton Mitchell, 23, of Bend, had walked to his property from upriver and said he and his friend, John Bailey, 31, of Redmond, had been attacked by a beaver.

He reported his friend last was seen in the water, trapped amid some submerged logs, said Sgt. Bailey (who the department noted is not related to the Redmond man).

Deputies and Bend Fire Department water rescue crews went to the lower end of Lava Island Falls, where the first deputy to arrive heard yelling from the area where Bailey last was seen and began searching along the riverbank, the sergeant said. The deputy found Bailey, just as he was climbing out of the water, about 400 yards from Mitchell’s initial location

Sgt. Bailey said an investigation found the two men were exploring along the river when they climbed onto a beaver dam when they were “attacked by a beaver protecting his/her dam and both subjects fell into the Deschutes River.”

“Mitchell was able to immediately climb out of the water, but Bailey was caught on some logs by his clothing,” the sergeant said. “Bailey eventually was able to climb out of the water as the first deputy arrived at the location.”

The two men were evaluated by medics and taken by ambulance to St. Charles Bend for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Sgt. Bailey said. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue volunteers had been called out after the initial report but were canceled when the two men were reported to be out of the water and safe.



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