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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Lake Roesiger

SNOHOMISH — An 8-year-old boy was pulled from Lake Roesiger and rushed to the hospital Sunday after he had been under water for nearly an hour, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said.

His condition was not immediately known, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office said it received 911 calls reporting that a boy had failed to surface after swimming to a floating platform in the lake at about 2:20 p.m. The calls came from a residence in the 2300 block of S. Lake Roesiger Road.

The boy was found by divers under water at about 3:20 p.m., the office said.

Local News

Boy dies after fall into apartment pool


File photo

LACEY, Wash. — A 4-year-old boy who fell into an apartment pool over the weekend died Sunday night at Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma, The Olympian reported.

According to Lacey police, officers received a report of a child drowning around 3:55 p.m. Saturday at the Diamond Head Apartments in the 1500 block of College Street S.E. When officers arrived, they found the boy’s father administering CPR.

Preliminary reports show the father fell asleep while watching the boy, and he wandered out of the apartment by himself. Upon waking, the man searched the apartment grounds and found the boy submerged in the pool. The man immediately grabbed the boy, called out to neighbors and performed CPR.

The boy was airlifted to Mary Bridge Hospital in Tacoma, and was listed in critical condition until Sunday. The Pierce County Medical Examiner is handling the autopsy, The Olympian reported.

Local News

Student found at bottom of pool dies


File photo

EVERETT– The 21-year-old student found unconscious at the bottom a high school pool May 31 was taken off life support Sunday.

Fedrick Nifasha, a student at Lake Stevens High School, drowned during a Lake Stevens School District special education program field trip.

An attorney representing the family said Nifasha shouldn’t have been allowed in the pool because he was a special needs student who couldn’t swim. And since his family had recently immigrated from Tanzania, he also had a limited knowledge of English, further increasing his dependency on his caretakers, the attorney said.

The attorney said it appeared Nifasha was underwater for a “considerable amount of time.”

The school district is investigating the incident.


Whatcom Falls Park

BELLINGHAM — A 16-year-old boy died Monday night after he jumped into the water at Whatcom Falls Park and was swept downstream, authorities said Tuesday.

Bellingham police identified the boy as Daniel Santiago Guerrero and said they are continuing an investigation into his death.

Bellingham police and fire departments responded to Whatcom Falls Park at 8:46 p.m. Monday, in response to a report of a teenage boy who witnesses say jumped into the water and was swept downstream, the Bellingham Police Department said.

When the boy was found and pulled from the water, paramedics immediately began life-saving measures and took the boy to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, but he did not survive.

According to witness accounts, police said, Guerrero had been in the park with six friends. Some of the friends had jumped into Whatcom Creek and were in the water when Daniel jumped in and disappeared, at which time his friends called 911.

Police are conducting an investigation and a cause of death has not been determined. The Whatcom County medical examiner has informed Bellingham Police that he likely will complete an autopsy on Wednesday to determine the manner and cause of death.

Authorities say simply wearing a life jacket isn’t enough after a man plunges into an area lake, slips out of a preserver and drowns.

spanaway drowningA picturesque day on Spanaway Lake is interrupted by Pierce County Search and Rescue teams searching for a missing man. The sheriff’s office says three people were being pulled on a floating tube by a boat when that tube flipped over. Two people surfaced but a 55 year-old man did not despite wearing a life jacket.

Sergeant Paul Schneider from the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office said, “He was wearing a vest. I don’t have the vest in front of me but obviously didn’t fit correctly and it slipped over his head.”

Within minutes, dive crews began their search but cloudy conditions at the bottom prevented them from finding the man.

“Protocol is they search with the possibility of survival for an hour,” Sergeant Schneider said.  “We’re approaching that now. Then we’ll move into recovery mode for the rest of the afternoon.”

Along the shore, residents listened to scanner traffic and used binoculars to keep track of the rescue effort.

Jeff Mundell witnessed most of the action. “We’re just sitting up here soaking up the sun and this happened and we’re like, something’s not right,” he said.

Mundell said the response was swift. The first crew arrived in less than 10 minutes.

“The next thing we saw, a boat came in and they had divers get in the boat,” Mundell said.

The news was especially sobering for longtime resident Sandy Williamson. He’s in the boat business and preaches the importance of water safety.

Williamson said, “In the eight years we’ve lived here we’re had I believe three drownings on our lake. And, we don’t want to have any more.”

The sheriff’s office says this tragedy could have been avoided.

“Life jacket is important but we need it to properly fit for the body style, weight and age of the person wearing it,” Segeant Schneider warned.

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

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

Hot weather and freezing water – a deadly combination


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.