Local news

Man tossed from canoe found dead

A man whose body was recovered from the Spokane River shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday after he was tossed from a canoe near Post Falls was identified as Michael W. Blankartz, of Spirit Lake.

His body was recovered by a Kootenai County Sheriff’s dive rescue team downstream from Corbin Park, which is about two miles west of Post Falls Dam.

The apparent drowning victim was found dead in about 4 feet of water a mile downstream from the park.

Blankartz, 28, was not wearing a personal flotation device.

In a news release Major Ben Wolfinger said Blankartz and a friend, Danny J. Richison, 29, of Post Falls, set out in a canoe about 5:50 a.m. in an attempt to float to the Pleasant View Bridge area.

According to the survivor, the canoe flipped shortly after leaving shore, tossing both men into the river.

Richison, who was also not wearing a flotation device, grabbed onto the canoe for a short period of time, which helped him get back to shore.

The body was spotted by a Medstar medical helicopter, which flew to the scene in the recovery effort, Wolfinger said.

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