Floaters on the Santiam River said this craft sprayed something as it few over them, roughly 1/3 of the way between Green's Bridge and Jefferson.
Photo: Stayton Mail | Anna Pearson
Warm temperatures over the weekend brought more floaters to the Santiam River near Jefferson this weekend, and it also brought more reports about a helicopter spraying people on the river.
Aviation officials have said they've received a number of calls in the past from the same general area complaining about a helicopter flying overhead and harassing people. More such calls emerged over the weekend.
Anna Pearson of Jefferson echoed what Aoife Armstrong told the Statesman Journal a couple of weeks ago.
"The whole thing lasted maybe about 20 seconds," Pearson said, describing a helicopter approaching from the west. "It didn't spray anything at all until it was over the river; and not then until it was over (a group of people). Then it made one long spray and took off in the other direction."
Pearson said there were about 40 people in the area of the river where the craft sprayed. She estimated that they were about 1/3 of the way from where they embarked on the river at Green's Bridge and Jefferson.
She also snapped a photo and shared it with her brother, Mark Tiersma, who works with the aviation outfit Columbia Helicopters of Bend. He speculated that the craft may have been a gyrocopter, rather than a helicopter.
Pearson said she contacted the Federal Aviation Administration, which was also very interested in the photos and her story.
Another SJ reader who said his name was "Jared" shared a similar report Sunday via text messages.
"I just want to let you know that today we went floating down the Santiam River and noticed a white helicopter dropping a dusty substance from the belly of the chopper," he said. "It can only fit one person; didn't notice any identification, but if I knew this was happening I would have recorded it with my phone.
"I do believe someone is trying to be malicious with these actions; why else would you take such a drastic chance poisoning people to care for your crop unless you were bitter about some sort of environmental vendetta towards floaters?"
Officials at the FAA and local airports have recommended that witnesses to get photos, video or even an identification tail number on the craft.
To report aviation issues, including low-flying aircraft or harassment, contact the Federal Aviation Administration's Flight Standards District Office: (503) 615-3200, (800) 847-3806 or online via www.faa.gov/contact.