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Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
Monday July 8th, 2019 :: 10:43 a.m. PDT

Community

Man missing overnight in Russian River found safe by Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team

A 75-year-old Glen Ellen man was found safe by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team after spending the night in the Russian River. Bill Hoeffer had been spending the weekend with friends at a rented home in Monte Rio and at about 10:30 AM on Saturday they decided to float down the Russian River in float tubes. They put in at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville and floated down the river until it got dark.
 
Hoeffer fell behind the group and got separated from his friends as they hiked up the bank in the dark near the Northwood Golf Course. When the parties reconvened at the top of the bank they were unable to locate Hoeffer. The Sheriff’s Office was called shortly after 10:00 PM to help search for Hoeffer by foot and helicopter.
 
When they couldn’t locate Hoeffer the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team was summoned and arrived on scene at about 3:30 AM. The volunteer team searched the Russian River area and were unable to locate the man, who was reported to be in a fairly healthy condition at the time he went missing.

At about 7:30 AM a Search and Rescue team member spotted Hoeffer clinging to a tree in the river about 3’ from the water’s edge on the opposite side of the river from where the group had exited. Monte Rio Fire personnel was able to go around to the south side of the river and get to Hoeffer from the 20800 block of River Blvd and walked him to shore safely in about waist high water.
 
Hoeffer was in good spirits but cold and disoriented. It wasn’t clear if he spent the night actually in the water or on the bank. He was wearing only board shorts and sandals. His float tube was nowhere to be found. He was ultimately transported to a local hospital with hypothermic symptoms.

CR 190706-027
 

Address/Location
Sonoma County Sheriff's Office
2796 Ventura Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 707-565-2650

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