Spokane Valley Online
The Spokane Valley News Herald
City of Spokane Valley, WA
Suicidal man pulled from river

06/02/2017

By MIKE HUFFMAN
Managing Editor

 

Spokane Valley Police pulled a suicidal male out of the Spokane River on Saturday after he jumped from the Trent Bridge, east of Pines, falling approximately 75 to 100 feet before slamming into the frigid, fast moving Spokane River.

Saturday at approximately 3:30 p.m., Spokane Valley officers responded to a report of a highly intoxicated male walking in traffic on Trent, east of Pines, said Deputy Mark Gregory, police spokesman.

A couple minutes later a citizen advised the male was now sitting on the guardrail of the bridge overlooking the Spokane River. The caller stated the male had his feet over the guardrail, was staring at the river and it appeared he might jump. 

A few minutes later the distraught male fell forward out of sight and toward the water.

The Spokane County Sheriff Office Dive Rescue and Spokane Valley Fire Water Rescue Teams were immediately called to respond.

Deputy J.P. Melton and Deputy Tom Walker, both with previous extensive swift water and water rescue training in their careers, arrived on scene and began contacting witnesses as they attempted to locate the male. Information from witnesses stated the male was hung up on some brush approximately 300 yards downstream.

The deputies followed directions of witnesses who said the male let go of the brush and was floating downstream. They made it ahead of the male and Melton utilized the throw bag placing rope right in front of the male but due to injuries or his suicidal intention, he did not grab it.

Realizing the need to possibly enter the very cold and fast moving water to save the male’s life, Walker began removing his duty belt and firearm, securing them with the deputies and donned his PFD.
The male disregarded commands and appeared to intentionally swim further from shore as he continued to be swept away by the current.

The deputies ran another 150 to 200 yards through the brush to again place themselves in front of the male to attempt another rescue. Melton threw the rope placing the throw bag within reach of the male but he wouldn’t grab it. 

At this point realizing he was the only one equipped with a PFD and the male was running out of time, Walker entered the water. He made his way out to the man and grabbed him and then the rope Melton had deployed. Deputies maintained control of the rope and pulled the men to shore.

Spokane Valley Fire Water Rescue Team arrived and began to provide the male with the much needed medical treatment for the injuries from the impact and his exposure to the frigid water. The SVFD Special Operations Team just happened to already be in the immediate area conducting swift water training at the time of the incident and were able to quickly respond with Spokane County sheriff deputies who also happened to be near the scene as well.

The male was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in stable condition.

It is currently unknown why the man jumped, or what state of mind he was in at the time of the incident.

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TheSpokane Valley News Herald
is the City of Spokane Valley, Washington's official Newspaper. The City Council of the City of Spokane Valley, Washington named the Spokane Valley News Herald as the city's "official" newspaper. The designation means the Spokane Valley News Herald will publish the city's legal notices on a contract basis for one year.

E-mail: vnh@onemain.com
Phone: (509) 924-2440