Close call for 10 rafters after rafts overturn on Skykomish River

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 5:40 PM

It was a close call for 10 rafters Monday after the two rafts overturned into the chilly Skykomish River Tuesday afternoon.

The incident happened around 1:00 p.m. in an area known as Boulder Drop near Gold Bar, Washington. A homeowner along the river noticed that the two rafts had flipped and called 911. Dive and rescue units with the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office were quickly dispatched to the scene.

For the most part, all of the rafters - all of them experienced, many actually river guides - were able to get themselves out of the water and onto the shore without any need for rescue or medical treatment. By 3:30 p.m., they managed to get back onto their rafts and float safely down the river.

"It was like butter cream at the top - it was nice and easy, smooth. Then we got to the bottom wave and both boats just got pummeled by a ledge wave," recalled Sean "Spare Rib" Horst, rafter. "It was amazing how quickly there were helicopters and rescue teams and people that I know from the fire department in Index just popping out of the trees."

"When you go rafting, especially on the Skykomish, it's challenging white water. Boulder Drop is a classified rapid. There's a chance you'll end up upside down or people get washed out. You just need to be ready to go for a swim," said Tyler Clabaugh, rafter.

Knowing how dangerous the river can be this time of year, the experienced rafters were very well prepared. In fact, the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office said the rafters wore helmets, life jackets and all the equipment they would need in an event such as this.

 

KING 5's Meg Coyle contributed to this report.


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