ARLINGTON — SNOPAC received a 911 call of a missing child in the river on Sunday, June 30, at 3:54 p.m. The child had been missing for five minutes when the emergency call was made.
Emergency personnel from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and its Marine Services Unit, as well as the police and fire departments of Arlington, the Stillaguamish Swiftwater Rescue Team and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter SNOHAWK-1 all responded to rescue the child, who went missing in the river off the bank of Twin Rivers Park, and was spotted by the helicopter crew who directed rescue swimmers and divers to a location approximately half a mile down the river where he was recovered.
The victim had to be transported three-quarters of a mile from the water to a waiting medic unit, and a good samaritan with a four-wheel drive vehicle assisted fire personnel by transporting the medics and victim alike from the water’s edge to the waiting ambulance. The victim was then turned over to the crew of Medic 46, who initiated lifesaving measures, including CPR, while transporting him to a local hospital.
The victim was a 10-year-old boy, who was visiting the river with his family and was not wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident. His name and personal details have yet to be released, pending the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s investigation.
“Local rivers are cold and the water is moving,” said Lt. Rodney Rochon, commander of the Marine Services Unit. “In static conditions, such as a swimming pool, a person stands a 50/50 chance of swimming 50 yards in 50-degree water. In a river, the distance a person can swim is greatly decreased.”
During the rescue, hovercraft operations were hampered by seven rafters floating through the scene, who were contacted and cited for their failure to carry the required safety equipment of a lifejacket and sound device.
This is the eighth drowning this year in Snohomish County, and the second in the Stillaguamish River.