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Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office warns residents to be extremely careful when swimming in cold rivers, especially around waterfalls

After four drowning deaths in Snohomish County backcounty rivers so far this year, the Sheriff's Office warns even strong swimmers that swift currents, hidden snags/drop-offs, and cold water-temperatures make for dangerous conditions.

From a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office news release.

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and Snohomish County Fire Districts 26 and 7 recovered the body of an adult male from the Skykomish River downstream from the Big Eddy Public Water Access site at around 6:00 pm.

The man is believed to be transient from the Gold Bar/Sultan area in his 30's. 

Earlier in the day, patrol responded to several 911 calls from witnesses reporting a man acting erratically and trespassing in the area.

When patrol units arrived, the man jumped into the back of one of the patrol pickups twice. After talking with man and assessing that he was not a threat to others, the man left the area around 2:00 pm.  

At around 4:30 pm witnesses at the Big Eddy site called 911 to report that they had seen the same adult male jumping into the water and drifting downstream, appearing to be in distress. Patrol, SAR, dive, as well as local fire agencies, arrived and the Sheriff's Office helicopter, SnoHAWK1, flew overhead. The body of the male was located at around 5:30 pm downstream from Big Eddy and was recovered from the river. 

Identification of the man, as well as cause and manner of death, will be determined by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office.

This is the fourth drowning incident in backcountry rivers near waterfalls this year. Here are the other incidents:

  • On May 28th, a 24-year-old Monroe man went missing at Eagle Falls and his body was recovered June 2ndin about 10 feet of water 50 yards upriver from the falls.
  • On April 24th, a 30-year-old Bothell woman went into the water at Wallace Falls State Park and her body was recovered the same day from the pond below the lower falls. 
  • On April 12th, a 22-year-old Monroe woman fell into the falls at Cedar Ponds and her body was recovered on April 21stby Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue volunteers as well as her family and friends.

Response to backcountry rescue and recovery efforts can be extremely dangerous and put rescue personnel and volunteers at risk.

Swimming in Snohomish County rivers, especially near waterfalls, is not recommended even for those who consider themselves to be strong swimmers due to swift currents, hidden snags/drop-offs, and cold water-temperatures.

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