Woman missing on Willamette River

Polk Co. Sheriff's Office

On Saturday 08-31-19 at approximately 2:35 PM a water rescue call came in to the Willamette Valley Communications Center concerning a party of friends that were floating the Willamette River near river mile 105, just downstream from Buena Vista Park in Polk County, south of Independence.

Information was that float tubes tied together and occupied by three adult females overturned after running into a large root ball snag situated a short distance off the west shore of Wells Island.  Two of the women were able to get to shallow water and scramble to shore on the island but the third woman was not seen again after going into the water.  Two adult men with the party were able to unhook their tubes prior to reaching the snag and were able to avoid it.  They made it to the Polk County shoreline without incident.

An extensive search was conducted by multiple agencies to include boats from Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Albany Fire Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Parks.  In addition, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office was able to deploy both a drone to search overhead and side scan sonar while ground searchers from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue unit and Polk County deputies searched along the west riverbank.

Albany Fire personnel were able to utilize personal watercraft to retrieve the two women from the island and advised that the strong current in the area actually overturned their watercraft. 
Fortunately no one was injured and the two women on shore were rescued and transported back to the park in Buena Vista.

Searchers continued with their efforts until nightfall, joined shortly before dark by a helicopter from REACH Air Medical Services that over flew the area.  Search efforts were unsuccessful and still missing is 37 year old Tracy Allen of Vancouver, WA.  Ms. Allen was visiting friends in the area and they decided to take a float on the river.  Ms. Allen, who knew how to swim, was wearing a life jacket at the time of her disappearance but as previously indicated the current in the area was quite strong and treacherous debris from trees littered the area.

Search operations are scheduled to resume Sunday morning.