The body of a 21-year-old male was located Tuesday after he slipped from his inner tube while rafting the Spokane River the day before.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded around 7 p.m. Monday to the area of Barker Road after receiving a report that the victim, who was not wearing a life jacket, had fallen into the river. Apparently, the man went under water near the Sullivan Road Bridge and did not come back to the surface, said Bill Clifford, assistant fire marshal.
Firefighters had rescue boats in the water in 13 minutes searching for the man. However, the search was called off after an hour due to a severe thunderstorm that rolled through the area.
On Tuesday, the man’s body was recovered around 10:40 a.m. near the Mission trailhead in Spokane.
Clifford warned that the river is still running fast and cold and contains many underwater hazards.
“The river is not a swimming pool,” he said. “Logs, branches and rocks can snag your clothes, arms or legs, making escaping difficult.
It is against the law to float the river without a life jacket.
The fire department suggests that floaters:
- Wear an approved personal flotation device
- Do not use alcohol or drugs when floating on the river
- Always tell someone your route and when and where you expect to put in and take out
- Have a backup plan for emergency contact in case your trip is cut short by an unforeseen obstacle or emergency
- Never float the river alone and, if possible, make sure there is at least one oared craft in your group in case a rescue is needed
- Learn CPR and know how to respond in water emergencies.