The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office recommends that swimmers stay away from waterfalls due to swift currents, hidden snags, drop-offs and cold water temperatures.
Authorities in Snohomish County are warning people to stay out of area rivers, particularly near waterfalls, after the county’s fourth suspected drowning near a waterfall since April 12.
Police recovered the body of a man from the Skykomish River on Tuesday, downstream from the Big Eddy Public Water Access site, according to a statement from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The victim is believed to have been in his 30s and to have been living near Gold Bar.
The man jumped into the water around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and reportedly appeared to be in distress as he drifted downstream, the statement said.
Deputies, search and rescue, dive teams and a helicopter from the Sheriff’s Office responded to 911 calls reporting the incident, as did local fire agencies. They found the man’s body around 5:30 p.m., according to the statement.
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The man had been reported to police for trespassing and acting erratically earlier in the day, but police determined he was not a threat to others.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office will release the man’s name and cause of death after it completes an examination.
Late spring and early summer, when the weather is warm but rivers are swollen with snow melt, are especially dangerous for swimmers, according to water-safety professionals. The Sheriff’s Office statement recounted this year’s fatalities:
• On May 28, a 24-year-old Monroe man disappeared at Eagle Falls. His body was recovered June 2.
• On April 24, a 30-year-old Bothell woman went into the water at Wallace Falls State Park. Her body was recovered the same day.
• On April 12, a 22-year-old Monroe woman went into the water at Cedar Ponds. Her body was recovered April 21.
“Swimming in Snohomish County rivers, especially near waterfalls, is not recommended due to swift currents, hidden snags, drop-offs and cold water temperatures, even for those who consider themselves to be strong swimmers,” Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office, said in the statement.
The danger isn’t limited to Snohomish County.
According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, 56 percent of all drowning deaths in the county occur in April, May and July. Last year, nine of the county’s 16 drownings happened in those three months.
Basic safety tips include:
• Wear a Coast Guard-approved lifejacket while boating or floating on an inner tube.
• All children under 12 must wear a lifejacket while on any boat less than 19 feet long.
• Boats must have a lifejacket for everyone on board.