April 24, 1995 in Nation/World

Man Dies After Boat Overturns In Killarney Lake Boaters Come To Rescue Of 4 Others; Kootenai Sheriff’s Divers Find Body

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A 65-year-old man died Sunday after spending more than an hour submerged in Killarney Lake.

The man, whose name was not released, was one of five men in a boat that overturned on the lake east of Coeur d’Alene, said Kootenai County sheriff’s officials.

Officials suspect alcohol was involved.

Donna Edwards of Rose Lake had just finished fishing with her family about 3:20 p.m. when she heard noise from across the lake.

Looking out over the water, she could see a boat capsized in the distance.

“You could hear the guys yelling and then two or three other boats headed over there to help them,” Edwards said, explaining she used her cellular phone to call for help.

Jeff Parker, his wife, Mona, and their friend Corey Raivio were fishing when they heard the men yelling for help.

By the time they got to the sinking boat, two men already had made it to land, one man was clinging to the bow and one was paddling toward shore.

The three Osburn residents helped the man crawl from the sinking boat into their own. They then headed toward the man who was swimming to shore.

“It looked like he was about to go under,” Jeff Parker said.

“His eyes were bulging out and there were bubbles coming up,” Raivio said. “I was glad we were there to help because there was no way he was going to make it.”

Mona Parker said the two soaked and chilled men still were calling for their friend who had disappeared in the water.

The trio took them to shore, giving them extra sweat shirts and sweat pants to keep warm.

They then searched for the missing man.

About 200 feet from shore, the bow of the 15-foot fishing boat jutted out of the water, its stern jammed in the mud on the bottom of the lake.

“We looked all over,” Raivio said. “But it’s muddy, muddy water so there wasn’t much we could do.”

Two divers from the Kootenai County Dive Team searched the murky 40-degree water for about 15 minutes before they found the man at 4:40 p.m.

The man was about 75 feet from shore in seven feet of water with no life vest, said Sgt. Jeff Thomas.

The two divers and a paramedic attempted to resuscitate the man in the boat as they headed to the boat ramp. The man then was airlifted to Deaconess Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 6:22 p.m.

Thomas said the survivors told him that when their boat began to sink, they all tried to swim to shore.

“They said they turned around and he was gone,” Thomas said.

He did not know why the boat sank.

Mona Parker said she saw whiskey bottles and beer cans floating around the boat as she and her friends searched for the drowning man.

The boat driver, whose name was not released, was taken by sheriff’s deputies to Kootenai Medical Center to have his blood tested for alcohol.

Thomas urged boaters to wear life jackets.

“We’ve never taken anybody out of the bottom of a lake who was wearing a life vest,” Thomas said.

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