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Several drown during heat spell

A 21-year-old man is presumed drowned after he went missing while swimming with friends in the Little Spokane River on Friday evening, Stevens County officials said Saturday, capping a deadly week on area waters that saw increased use with the arrival of searing summer heat.

The man has not been identified, and little information on the incident was released Saturday, but searchers are focusing on Long Lake, which forms on the Spokane River near the confluence with the Little Spokane.

Also on Friday, 55-year-old Andy J. Anderson drowned in the Spokane River at Corbin Park in Post Falls.

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department said Anderson, of Post Falls, was swimming in the river around 6:45 p.m. when he went under water but never surfaced. Divers searched the area for about two hours and found Anderson about 100 yards downstream.

Anderson’s body was in about 43 feet of water in a strong eddy. A sheriff’s spokesman said in a news release that strong eddies are common in that part of the river. The sheriff’s office said the Spokane River below the Post Falls dam can be dangerous, with deep holes, swirling currents and undertows. Swimmers are urged to wear flotation devices “in general and particularly on the Spokane River in this area,” the news release said.

On Friday morning, August “A.J.” Marksworth, 16, died after being pulled from an old mill pond at Spirit Lake on Wednesday.

Marksworth’s friend said they were walking across the shallow portion of the lake when Marksworth stepped into deeper water and began to struggle. The boy is believed to have been underwater for 10 to 15 minutes before a Kootenai County sheriff’s deputy was able to bring him to the surface.