Missing rafter’s body located on South Fork but not yet recovered

Authorities will resume recovery efforts Wednesday for a man who fell off a raft Sunday while going through rapids at Buffalo Creek on the South Fork of the Boise River in Elmore County.

Richard Arave was rafting with his son Sunday evening when the raft overturned and Arave disappeared in the rapids, Elmore County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mike Barclay said.

The sheriff’s office and search and rescue crews worked with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to slow the water flow Tuesday. The process took about nine hours to drop the water levels enough to safely sweep the area of interest to locate the victim, according to an ECSO news release.

Early Tuesday afternoon searchers located Arave’s body “in a very swift and a dangerous area on the river,” according to the news release. Recovery efforts were suspended until Wednesday because of a serious risk to personnel, the sheriff’s office reports.

Plans call for dropping water levels again Wednesday, starting first thing in the morning, the sheriff’s office reports.

Recovery efforts are focused about 1.5 miles upstream from Neal Bridge. The incident was reported as a possible drowning about 7:45 p.m. Sunday. Witnesses told officers that the man’s raft overturned about a mile and a half upstream from the bridge on Blacks Creek Road. The raft continued floating on the water but witnesses said they did not see the man after he went into the water, the sheriff’s office reports.

Searchers combed the river from the Danskin Bridge to Arrowrock Reservoir, using a boat, raft and a drone. Air St. Luke’s used an aircraft to fly over the area.

On May 31, a man was rescued along the same stretch of river. The man suffered a broken leg in that rafting accident.

Authorities urge floaters to use extreme caution. River levels have been high, and obstructions have been constantly pushed downstream by the force of the water, they said.