Local woman taking photos at Glacier National Park slips, falls in creek and drowns
WEST GLACIER, Mont — The Washington State woman who fell into McDonald Creek at Glacier National Park on Saturday has passed away.
Park spokeswoman Denise Germann says that Abigail Sylvester, 33, of Buckley, Washington died as a result of drowning in the cold, fast moving water.
Park dispatchers were notified at about 3 p.m. on Saturday that Sylvester had fallen into McDonald Creek, near the upper falls, and was being carried downstream.
Germann says that an initial investigation indicates Buckley was with her husband along McDonald Creek – near the bridge below the upper McDonald Creek Falls – when she slipped and fell into the creek.
It is believed she was taking photos when she slipped and the creek current swept her downstream. Her husband jumped into the creek in an attempt to save her, but had to self-rescue himself to the creek bank due to deep and fast-moving water at this location.
A visitor on an interpretive tour in the area saw the woman being carried downstream and a park ranger leading the tour notified called dispatchers.
Park rangers responded to find the woman near the outlet of McDonald Creek into Lake McDonald, about a ½ mile from where she fell in. She was carried over Lower McDonald Creek Falls, which is approximately 30 feet in height.
Germann says that several visitors provided help – including a volunteer fireman who spotted something believed to be the woman. He waded into the creek, and began swimming in waist-deep water as he was able to retrieve her.
His son helped get her on a small island. The father and son, two other male visitors, and park rangers assisted with and performed CPR.
Sylvester was flown from the scene by ALERT helicopter to Kalispell Regional Medical Center, where she later passed away.
Germann is urging park visitors to use caution around all bodies of water in the par. Water is cold, fast moving and high in most places at this time, and rocks can be very slippery.
Drowning is also one of the leading causes of death in Clacier National Park.
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