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Community Comment

Mon., June 1, 2009, 5:53 a.m.

Who pays for river rescues when signs warn of danger?

Photograph courtesy KREM-TV  (The Spokesman-Review)
Photograph courtesy KREM-TV (The Spokesman-Review)

Good morning, Netizens...

[Picture courtesy of KREM-TV]

There is a lot of chatter in the morning news about the “dramatic rescue” of a woman who was kayaking down the Spokane River East of the Barker Street Bridge, which is under repair and got trapped in debris beneath the bridge. The Fire Department finally resorted to cutting a hole in the bridge floor to effect the rescue. Once that was out of the way, and a fireman was lowered down to the stranded kayak, she was pulled to the surface.

I have seen the warning signs along the river, advising boaters to stay out of the river. The river is high, running very fast due to the Spring runoff, and cold. The signs say STAY OUT but this woman and her partner apparently chose to ignore them. There have been a number of these rescues this Spring, each one where rescue workers' lives were put in peril because someone couldn't read the warning signs.

So logic prods me to ask, since they ignored official warnings, shouldn't they be responsible for the costs of their rescue? Send them a bill for services and watch the number of incidents drop. That makes sense to me.


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Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.