Story Summary

Water rescues and drownings

Every year, especially when the temperatures rise, people in Western Washington take to the area rivers and lakes. But with rivers running swift and cold from mountain snowmelt, people can be dragged under water or get into other trouble. Water rescues and drowings become more common in the spring and summer months.

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Local News

Teen found in Deep Lake dies


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

ENUMCLAW — A 17-year-old Yakima boy found in Deep Lake Wednesday afternoon has died.

The teen died at Auburn Medical Center Wednesday, King County Sheriff’s Spokeswoman Cindi West said.

The boy was swimming at Nolte Park with a church group when he went underwater and didn’t surface. He was pulled from the lake about an hour later by King County Fire Department divers.

Medics performed CPR on the boy at the scene but were unable to revive him, officials said. His identity has not yet been released.

greenlakeSEATTLE — A 19-year-old man was pulled from Green Lake Thursday night and revived after nearly drowning, authorities said.

At 7:49 p.m., a 911 call reported an unconscious, unresponsive man who was pulled from the water at Green Lake, the Seattle Fire Department said.  Emergency personnel responded to East Green Lake Drive East and NE 72nd Street near the indoor pool.

When firefighters arrived a “Good Samaritan” had pulled the patient from the water and initiated CPR. Witnesses told firefighters the teenager was under water for approximately 4 minutes.

The 10 firefighters on scene continued CPR. After 12 minutes of continuous chest compressions, firefighters were able to get the patient’s pulse. Medics transported the 19-year-old man to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, the Fire Department said.


lakegoodwinNORTH MARYSVILLE — A teenage boy was pulled Sunday from Lake Goodwin in Wenberg Park and was not breathing, but a 15-year-old passerby reportedly began CPR until fire and aid crews arrived, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

The boy, believed to be 15 or 16, was rushed to Providence Medical Center in Everett, but his condition was not immediately known, Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Brand said.

“Witnesses gave conflicting reports as to how long the young man was submerged,” Brand said. “It is believed the male was visiting the park with family and/or friends and it is not known why he began having trouble in the water.”

The incident is under investigation.



Local News

Search for missing rafter called off

SUMNER, Wash. — Search and rescue teams called off their search for a 25-year-old who went missing Monday afternoon while trying to float a portion of the Puyallup River in an inner tube.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue crews stopped the search because of difficult water conditions at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A Pierce County sheriff’s department spokesman said the man put his tube in the water around 6 p.m. Monday with two friends at a drop spot near 80th Street East and State Route 162 by the Puyallup River bridge. The group floated for about two hours before the friend was separated from the others. The group waited for him at the point they were supposed to meet, and called 911 once he was missing for more than two hours.

WaterrescuePierce County Search and Rescue crews arrived at the scene shortly after 12 a.m. and found the missing man’s inner tube near a sand bar south of the drop spot. The search was called off because muddy, swift-moving water hampered efforts.

Police said the 25-year-old was possibly high on some kind of cough medicine.

skykomishGOLD BAR — An 18-year-old man pulled from the icy-cold water of the Skykomish River has died, authorities said Monday.

The boy disappeared while in the river near Eagle Falls, just east of Gold Bar.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office immediately launched a search by helicopter from the air and by divers in the river.

They eventually found him in water at the base of the falls.

Medics performed CPR but he was not responding and eventually was declared dead.

The teen’s name and official cause of death have not been released.

Local News

Teen dies at remote swimming hole

fallsJEFFERSON COUNTY — An 18-year-old man from Montesano, Wash., died Friday at a remote swimming spot after jumping from a rock into water near the Wynoochee Falls.

According to KXRO Newsradio, the man was swimming with friends near the Wynoochee Falls when he jumped into the water from a high rock and did not resurface.

Lacking cellphone service, a 22-year-old friend traveled nearly 10 miles to a phone at the Coho Campground to call for help. Deputies arrived on the scene, and located the man’s body in 25 feet of water below the falls.

Police said its unknown if the man drowned, or died as a result of hitting an object while jumping into the water. An autopsy will be performed on the man. Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be involved.

ARLINGTON — It was a typical afternoon on the Stillaguamish River in Arlington.

StillaguamishPolice say the boy was rafting on the river with family and friends when something went wrong.

“There was some kind of mishap with the group and the 10-year-old boy was separated from the rest of them, and some thought that maybe he ran into some difficulty at the bend in the river where he may have been sucked under that snag that’s up there,” witness Tim Johnson said.

The 911 call came in at 3:44 p.m. — boy missing in the river, last seen five minutes before.

“It’s cold.  It’s moving. Being in moving water without a life jacket is an accident waiting to happen,” Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Rochon said, “and this river is full of snags, various natural debris, logs, rocks, things of that nature that can hinder your abilities to self-rescue as well.”

That brought water-rescue crews to the bank of the river, but it was a  sheriff’s office helicopter, Snohawk-1, that first spotted the boy.

“SnoHawk-1 was able to locate the boy in the water submerged about a half mile from our location now and the current was still carrying him downstream,” Rochon said.

Divers went in and pulled the boy from the water. CPR was performed but the boy died a short time later.

Investigators say the boy was not wearing a life vest — and that made all the difference.

The unfortunate fact is most people on the river had no life vest and regulars say that is the norm.

“I haven’t seen any life vests on the river at all,” river rafter Michael King said.

“We’ve said it many times; when you’re in the water, wear a life jacket. Life jackets float. You don’t,”  Rochon said.


twinrivers1ARLINGTON — A 10-year-old Arlington boy playing in the Stillaguamish River was swept downstream Sunday and drowned.

He was under water when found by rescuers, but efforts to revive him through CPR were unsuccessful,  authorities said.

The boy was with his family at Twin Rivers Park, officials said. He was playing in the river without a life jacket and was swept downstream.

The boy was missing for about an hour before he was located under water.

Local News

Fireworks too hot, water’s too cold

roman-candleSEATTLE — The shells, the fountains, the sparklers. They are all out on display, ready for people celebrating the birth of America.

Fireworks stands around the state opened at noon on Friday in anticipation of the Fourth of July.

At the fireworks tent outside the Issaquah Christian Church, more fireworks sales also means more people that will be helped by the church.  They’ll raise enough money to fund mission trips to bring medical supplies to Haiti and build homes for those in poverty in Mexico.

“We’re here to serve our world and our country and that’s why we do it,” church volunteer Mo Rockstad said.

But each firework they sell is also a potential fire-starter, now that things are getting hot and dry.

Bud Backer, Deputy Chief with Eastside Fire and Rescue said, “By the time the Fourth rolls around, we’re expecting the fuels of grasses and brush to be quite dry and the likelihood of brush fires starting because of fireworks will be quite high.”

Backer is warning people to be extremely cautious with fireworks, don’t let children handle them and light them on pavement, clear from brush or trees.

Several communities on the Eastside have banned fireworks and this year Backer and his crews will be out patrolling.

“It’s time to get out and let them know that we’re going to be there and they may not get to use the fireworks they spent a bunch a money on.”

The hot weather is not only creating a fire danger for the next week, but water danger as well.

Tony Gomez, with King County Public Health said, because of a large snowpack, water temperatures are still cold despite the sweltering heat. Rivers are around 40 degrees and most lakes are no warmer then 50 degrees. And jumping into that water can send a swimmer into cold shock.

“I’ve investigated drownings where as soon as they hit the water, they were in trouble,” Gomez said. “They were instantly needing rescue.”

Gomez recommends going to beaches with lifeguards and wear a life jacket.

Last year, 103 people drowned in Washington state and the beginning of summer is when drowning numbers start to go up.

“Almost half our drownings last year occurred in June, July and  August, so this is the season where it kind of ramps up and we need to get folks looking out for each other,” he said.