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Contact: Denise Germann, 406 888 5838
Glacier National Park Rangers responded to two water rescue incidents this afternoon. At approximately 12:30 p.m. today park dispatch was notified that a child fell into McDonald Creek near Red Rock Point along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and at approximately 1:30 p.m. rangers were alerted to a raft accident on the North Fork of the Flathead River.
A family from Georgia was participating in a red bus tour when they made a stop at Red Rock Point. The family’s 12-year son was playing on a log and fell into McDonald Creek. He was swept down creek approximately 20 yards in a constricted and steep area with very fast moving water. A male visitor from Wisconsin recreating in the area jumped in the creek, retrieved the boy and safely got him to the other side of the creek. Rangers responded with an inflatable kayak and life jackets, and transported the boy and the man safely back across the creek. There were no injuries.
As the Red Rock Point incident was happening, rangers were also responding to the North Fork of the Flathead River to search for individuals believed to be separated from a flipped raft.
Recreationists at the Flathead National Forest Glacier Rim area along the Flathead River, about 12 miles north of Columbia Falls, observed a cooler, some plastic bags with personal belongings and a life preserver float down river. Park rangers, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, Two Bear Helicopter and members of the North Valley Search and Rescue responded to the incident. A family from California, two adults and two children, were flipped as they were rafting. All individuals had life jackets. After the raft flipped, the river current carried them a short distance down river, and to the park side of the river. Crew aboard the Two Bear Helicopter spotted the family and a boat was dispatched to pick them up and transport them to their vehicle. Individuals were wet and cold, but there were no injuries.
All recreationists are reminded to be cautious of the various hazards associated with outdoor recreation near and on water. Many of the lakes, rivers and streams still have high and fast moving water at this time. Park visitors are reminded that wading in or fording swift moving water should be avoided. Never walk, play or climb on slippery rocks and logs, especially near swift moving water or waterfalls. When boating and rafting, always wear a life jacket. Drowning is a major cause of fatalities in the park.