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Eugene Man Missing After Scuba Diving Expedition in Umpqua River Sparks Intensive Search Effort

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Extensive Search Operations Launched by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and US Coast Guard

Image courtesy of Douglas County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook

47-year-old Jeffery Scott Harris of Eugene is currently missing after a scuba diving excursion in the Umpqua River near the Pacific Ocean’s mouth in Winchester Bay on Sunday, January 29, 2024.

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The alarm was raised around 3:00 p.m. when a concerned friend contacted 9-1-1 to report Harris’s absence. Despite having prior diving experience, Harris failed to resurface after venturing into the Umpqua River at approximately 12:30 p.m. on that fateful Sunday.

Responding swiftly, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, in collaboration with the United States Coast Guard (USCG), initiated an extensive search operation. Two USCG boats, complemented by a helicopter, scoured the waters, while the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue unit deployed K9 teams and ATVs along the riverbank until nightfall on the same day.

Undeterred by challenges, search efforts resumed the next day. Dive Rescue teams from Douglas County and Lane County faced hazardous diving conditions during the morning low tide, leading to the temporary suspension of their operations. The USCG helicopter continued aerial searches throughout the morning.

Image courtesy of Douglas County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook

Lieutenant Brad O’Dell stated, “We have been in communication with Jeffrey’s family and have kept them updated as to the efforts that are being made. We are doing everything we can to assist them in locating Jeffrey.” Deputies are set to resume land patrols on Tuesday, exploring the possibility of employing specialized underwater search equipment in coordination with external agencies.

The collaborative search operation involves the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, United States Coast Guard, Oregon State SAR Coordinator, CAHOOTS of Eugene, Lane County Search and Rescue, Douglas County Marine Patrol, and Douglas County Search and Rescue. As the community awaits updates, the collective efforts of these agencies demonstrate a commitment to locating Jeffery Scott Harris and providing support to his distressed family.

Source: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

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About Author

Lee has been in the marketing industry for the last 15 years and now specializes in teaching marketing techniques to people in the scuba diving industry. He is founder of Dive Media Solutions which, in addition to providing complete marketing, media, communications and IT solutions exclusively for the scuba diving industry, also produces The Scuba News. You can connect with Lee via Twitter by following @DiveMedia

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