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Jim Kershner’s This day in history » On the Web: spokesman.com/topics/local-history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The raging Spokane River claimed two victims as they attempted to maneuver a log raft down the river not far from its mouth.

Three men were riding the raft down the swollen Spokane on the way to a sawmill at the river’s confluence with the Columbia.

It soon became clear that the men were in trouble. One man could be seen hacking frantically at the ropes as waves periodically swamped the logs.

He finally freed one giant log, “threw himself upon it, and giving all the impetus his strength could muster, he pushed free from the wreckage and started for shore.”

He survived, but the two other men were still on the raft when the entire mass was caught in rapids and repeatedly overturned.

“By the dim light of lanterns, augmented by the flickerings of a fire on the bank, searchers stand tonight in the drizzling rain on shore, peering into a whirlpool,” said The Spokesman-Review. “Great logs rise, sink and rear out of the foam, grinding over each other and somewhere down in the depths, the waters churn the bodies of the two men; the dead the river may not give up for weeks.”

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1981: Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.



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