The Spokane River appears to have claimed two lives on Thursday.
A man drowned while snorkeling in the river at Corbin Park, near Post Falls, on Thursday morning. Later in the evening a teen went missing west of Liberty Lake after the inner tube he was riding tipped.
Wayne O. Pennington Jr., 43, of Post Falls, was upstream from the Corbin Park boat launch by himself when he called for help, police said. Witnesses called 911 about 11 a.m. Divers and boat crews found Pennington floating about a mile downstream from the park.
The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office has the incident under investigation.
Later, a 17-year-old boy was tubing the river east of the Harvard Road bridge with his brother and two friends when he tipped shortly before 8 p.m. Crews scoured the river from land, air and water from Harvard Road to the Upriver Dam before calling off the search a little after 10 p.m.
“At this point, we think it’s going to transition from a rescue to a recovery operation,” Andy Hail, deputy chief of the Spokane Valley Fire Department, said Thursday night. “We’re very hopeful for a recovery, but the chances are diminishing quickly. The darker it gets, the less chance we have to find this person.”
The teen was not wearing a flotation device. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will handle any subsequent investigation, Hail said.
Hail said it appears the boy may have hit his head on something, then gone under.
He urged caution for those seeking to recreate on the river.
“It’s a challenging environment,” Hail said. “People need to be wearing a personal flotation device or they have no business being on the river.”
Son, 51, arrested in father’s shooting
A 51-year-old West Plains man shot his 81-year-old father during an argument in their Mirage Lane front yard Thursday, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
Vladimir I. Serebryakov was arrested on a felony assault charge in connection with the shooting, which occurred about noon, the Sheriff’s Office said.
His father, who was hit in his torso and arm by birdshot fired from a .12-gauge shotgun, walked to a neighbor’s home in the 1100 block of North Craig Road to seek help.
He was treated and released for minor injuries at a downtown Spokane hospital.
Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release the shotgun used in the shooting had not been located as of 2 p.m.
The investigation is ongoing.
Meghann M. Cuniff