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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osoARLINGTON, Wash. — A man drowned in the North Fork Stillaguamish River near Oso on Sunday after his raft became tangled in logs and he was thrown into the water.

A female companion on a separate raft also fell in, but she was able to swim to shore.

Witnesses began calling 911 at about 2:30 p.m. to report seeing the pair in the water, Oso Fire Chief Willy Harper told The Everett Herald.

Crews worked for an extended time trying to revive the man, but without success, Harper told the Herald.

Officials said the man was wearing a life vest, but it somehow slipped off of him when he was in the logjam.

Ages and hometowns were not immediately released.

The rafting accident occurred near the 22400 block of State Route 530.

spanawaySPANAWAY — A 55-year-old man presumably drowned in Spanaway Lake on Sunday after a float tube that he and two others were being pulled on flipped and he disappeared under the water, authorities said.

The other two people on the tube were unharmed.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department dive team and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue searched for the missing man for more than an hour and then declared the rescue mission a “recovery” operation.

Authorities said the float tube was being pulled by a boat, and that when the tube flipped, all three went into the water. Two of the people surfaced, but the man did not. The man was wearing a life jacket, but that it apparently didn’t fit properly and slipped off, authorities said.

No other details were immediately available.

Local News
05/03/13

Temps warm, water cold, dangerous

SEATTLE —  This weekend, the area is about to see a sunny stretch of weather with summer-like temps in the 80s.

“I think it’s absolutely gorgeous out and I think it’s about time,” Kari Minns said.

A lot of people will be drawn to the water this weekend, especially lakes and rivers and rescue workers are bracing for emergency calls.

Chief Greg Smith of Mountain View Fire and Rescue, expects a lot of people to grab rafts and tubes and plunge into the Green River.

“They stop at Wal-Mart and buy a $20 blow-up raft and they come down here and put their cooler full of beer in the raft,” Smith said. “They get on the river and expect to have a pleasant day, but a lot of times it turns into a tragedy.”

While it will feel like summer weather this weekend, lake and river temps are still at winter levels — the Green River is hovering around 45 degrees.

Tim Percival, also with Mountain View Fire and Rescue, said if you fall in, “the water snaps your energy, you can barely breathe, and it’s a recipe for disaster.”

Rivers are also running high and fast.

Around this time last year, Everett City Councilman Drew Neilson, an experienced rafter, drowned in Green River. The water was rushing so fast it ripped his life jacket off him.

But rescuers said if you’re on the water, your most important piece of equipment is a life jacket. They also cautioned that you should also know the water conditions and know your limits. Their best advice is that at this time of the year, it’s really better to play near the water and not in it.Kaisha65

Local News
05/03/13

Hot weather and freezing water – a deadly combination

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SEATTLE — It will be near 80 degrees around the Seattle area this weekend. While everyone welcomes the warm weather, and plenty of people will be out enjoying the water for the start of boating season, it can also be deadly to be out on the water if you’re not careful because the water remains cold — cold enough to kill.

King County Fire District 44 said they expect to respond to several incidents this weekend and that the rivers in Western Washington this time of year can be dangerous because the current is fast, the water is cold and there is debris in the water that could trap someone.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the U.S. and Washington State and is the second cause of accidental death in the country for children.

Officials said you should know your limits and keep kids within eyesight at all times.

Check water conditions and know the hazards, such as currents, tides and downed trees before going on the water and always wear a life jacket.

More tonight on Q13 at 4 and 5.

Local News
05/02/13

Beware if you’re going into area rivers, lakes

riverdanger1SEATTLE — With warm weather expected this weekend, recreational river and lake users were being advised Thursday to be extremely careful on area waterways that can be high, swift and cold from mountain snowmelt.

Flows on rivers fed by mountain snowpack could increase throughout the week as snowmelt accelerates. River temperatures can still be in the 40-degree range – and lakes aren’t that much warmer.

“The combination of warm weather and very cold water is a recipe for potential danger, and it is important that everyone thinking about going out on the water be aware of these early season conditions,” said Christie True, director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

“Every year, we see tragic and preventable drownings on our local rivers,” said Dr. David Fleming, director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “Please use a personal flotation device if you go on the river. For safer places to swim, take advantage of local pools or life-guarded beaches.”

For more information on river safety and drowning prevention, visit the King County river safety web page at www.kingcounty.gov/riversafety.

pittpassage

Pitt Passage

TACOMA — A kayaker whose boat flipped Monday night near McNeil Island died Tuesday morning after a night in the hospital, Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said.

The man, 29, was from Lakebay, Wash. His identity has not yet been released.

The man and his friend were kayaking in the Pitt Passage around 7:30 p.m. The other man was able to make it to shore and call 911 from a local resident. Searchers arrived on the scene and pulled the victim from the water.

Both men were wearing life jackets.

pittpassage

Pitt Passage

TACOMA — A kayaker was in grave condition Monday night after his boat overturned between the Key Peninsula and McNeil Island and he ended up in the cold water for nearly an hour, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported, citing Key Peninsula Fire.

Two men in their late 20s were kayaking in the area known as Pitt Passage when their boat overturned, Fire Chief Tom Lique told the newspaper.

One man made it to shore and was able to call 911 about 7:30 p.m. Monday from a nearby home.  Multiple agencies responded with vessels to search for the missing kayaker.

The crew of a nearby Coast Guard vessel pulled the other kayaker from the water, and he was taken to St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor in grave condition, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told the News Tribune.

Both men were wearing life jackets, Troyer said.

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