Tour Commander, 509.625.7100
Wednesday, July 6, 2022 at 9:02 a.m.
The Spokane Fire Department (SFD) was dispatched to the report of a person in the Spokane River at 12:06 PM on July 4th. The reporting person was able to identify the area as the Sandifur bridge. The first company arrived within five minutes and observed an adult male clinging to the bridge abutment in the Spokane River, approximately 75 feet from the shoreline. The flow in the river at Spokane this morning is about 4800 cubic feet per second (CFS), making conditions hazardous.
Firefighters made contact with the reporting person floating the river with his friend. The two males were floating the river using a catamaran for fishing the Spokane River. When they came upon the Sandifur bridge abutment, they could not navigate it and ended up tipping their boat. One adult could swim to shore and report that his friend was stranded in a heavy current at the base of the bridge abutment. Shore teams communicated verbally with the victim to reassure him and explain the rescue plan. The victim was wearing a personal flotation device and could safely (but only temporarily) stand on the base of the bridge abutment. Firefighters from the Swift Water Rescue Team deployed the jet boat and kayak teams to coordinate a rescue of the victim. The SFD jet boat (Water 16) could safely navigate to the victim, rescue the gentleman, and safely bring him to shore. The person was assessed for injuries by SFD crews and determined to have sustained no injuries.
After being rescued, firefighters recovered the civilians' watercraft and brought the boat to shore.