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UPDATE: Missing boater found dead in Custer County; body not yet recovered



The following is a news release from the Custer County Sheriff’s Office

On May 24, 2022, around 7 p.m. the Custer County Sheriff’s Office in Challis, Idaho, received the report of a boating accident on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The accident had taken place around 2:30 pm that afternoon and was reported by the family of the accident victim.

Sixty-three-year-old Robert Gray from Mills Creek, Washington, was floating the Middle Fork near Boundary Creek when his raft struck a log jam, throwing him into the water. The water at that time was running about 5 feet high and flowing at a temperature of 40 degrees.

Robert Gray, tired and cold, could not self-rescue and was carried away by the swift current.

On May 25, 2022, around 12 noon, Custer County Search & Rescue located the body of a boater by helicopter. The body of the boater which matched the description of Robert Gray was located submerged in a log jam below Boundary Creek.

The body of the boater has not yet been recovered due to the rising runoff water and swift currents, which make the recovery too dangerous for personnel.

Recovery efforts will resume as soon as the water levels drop and the recovery teams can get into the location.

PREVIOUS STORY (published 11 a.m. Wednesday):

CHALLIS — The Custer County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a boater who went missing on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River on Tuesday.

Robert W. Gray was last seen at 2:30 p.m. at First Bend, located downstream of the Boundary Creek boat launch. His red catamaran was later found lodged in a log jam upstream of the boat launch.

A Custer County search and rescue helicopter is searching the river from Boundary Creek to the Indian Creek Airstrip for any sign of Gray.

Gray is 5 foot 9 inches tall and weighs about 280 pounds. He was last seen wearing a wetsuit and a red life jacket.

Anyone with any information about Gray is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (208) 879-2232.

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