Abandoned watercraft prompts search along river; missing rafter contacts authorities - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

UPDATE

Abandoned watercraft prompts search along river; missing rafter contacts authorities

SPOKANE, Wash.  - City firefighters searched the Spokane River near the Bowl and Pitcher area of Riverside State Park after getting reports of an abandoned Cataraft in the river Monday morning.

A ranger at the park first sighted the abandoned watercraft and alerted police.  City fire crews, who were already planning to train on the water, responded and began searching the area.  After two hours of searching the area, crews had failed to turn up any information about how the Cataraft got there, or whether anyone was in danger.

As of 2 p.m. Monday crews had not identified the Cataraft's owner, and the official search to determine whether anyone had fallen into the water had been called off.

Officials asked the public to contact the Sheriff's Office if they knew someone who owned a Outfitter X-9 Cataraft and had not heard from them or had been unable to reach them. 

Monday evening local State Parks representative notified the Spokane Fire Department that the missing boater from today's incident had been located

According to the report the State Parks representative the subject was on the river Monday morning. When his boat flipped he was able to self rescue and swim to shore. The rafter abandoned his boat and left the area. When he arrived at his place of employment, he contacted the Department of Emergency Management's Marine Division and left a message on a voicemail explaining the situation. Unfortunately the voicemail was not heard until late Monday afternoon.

Law Enforcement officers from State Parks were successful in contacting the rafter Monday afternoon. According to a State Parks officer, no charges were filed and the subject had no intent to inconvenience the emergency responders. He was apologetic for the communication error.

The Spokane Fire Department says this incident reinforces the importance making sure that another person always knows your location and status when you are on boating on the River, hiking or enjoying any type of recreation where you could become lost or stranded. It is equally important that when you pass critical information to responders to make sure that it is confirmed and understood by the agency.

Flows on the Spokane River have been high over the past several weeks, but not high enough to trigger any flood warnings.  At 12:45 p.m. on Monday, the river at Spokane was at 24.67 feet, about 2-and-a-half feet below flood stage.

There were several accidents on area rivers during the month of May, and many of those accidents turned out to be deadly.  On May 6, two people died in the Columbia River in a canoe accident.

Two weeks later, two men were rescued from the Spokane River after their canoe capsized.  Then, on the same day, a man fell off of a log into Priest River and is presumed to have drowned.

On May 23, two men died and one survived in a rafting accident on the Coeur d'Alene River.

And finally, last Wednesday, rescue crews pulled a distressed swimmer out of the Spokane River.

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