July 8, 2011 in City

River rescuers learn missing teen was safe at home

 
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A teen-aged boy feared to have drowned in the Spokane River on Thursday evening actually was safe at home when rescue units were scouring the river for him.

The 17-year-old from North Idaho was reported missing on the river between Barker and Harvard roads about 7:45 p.m. Three other teens had said their friend fell off a tube while they were floating the river east of the Harvard Road bridge.

Swift water rescue units from the Spokane Valley and Spokane fire departments responded to the scene. The dive team and helicopter unit from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office also were deployed.

Crews searched both sides of the river from Harvard to west of the town of Millwood. The search was called off about 9:40 p.m. due to darkness.

Friends of the boy reportedly were watching TV news Thursday night when they called in to authorities to report that the teen had gotten out of the river and returned to Idaho with his father.

“Apparently the young man is OK,” said Capt. Patrick Schaffer with the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

The river is running high and fast from the spring runoff and poses dangers for people recreating on it. None of the teens involved in Thursday’s incident was wearing a personal floatation device, authorities said.

Earlier Thursday, a man drowned while snorkeling in the Spokane River at Corbin Park, near Post Falls. 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.


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