July 17, 2012 in City

Body of missing rafter recovered from Spokane River

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Rescue personnel gather on the Centennial Trail east of Sullivan Road after recovering the body of a 21-year-old man who drowned Monday night. Divers discovered the body in several feet of water.
(Full-size photo)

Emergency crews have retrieved the body of a 21-year-old man who went missing in the Spokane River Monday night while floating on an inner tube with friends in Spokane Valley.

The body of Spokanite Kyeffer Scott was located near the Mission trail head at about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday on the south side of the river. Scott was found about 12 feet underwater just 300 yards from where he went missing.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department and a helicopter assisted with the search, moving slowly up and down the river.

The river in that area is moving quickly, full of riffles and rapids. Several bikers and runners were on the Centennial Trail while divers retrieved Scott’s body but were kept away from the recovery effort.

Scott went into the water around 6:40 p.m. when his tube flipped, and he was not wearing a life jacket.

A kayaker saw Scott go under but could not reach him in the fast-moving water.

The search had to be called off after 8 p.m. Monday because of a thunderstorm with lightning and winds.

Despite the warm weather, the river remains fairly cold, said Deputy Mark Gregory with the Sheriff’s Office.

“It just robs your body temperature,” Gregory said.

Whether the conditions are too much for swimmers depends on each individual’s strength in the water, he said. But no matter how strong they are, Gregory encourages people to wear life jackets.

“It’s the law,” he said, “but you know what, it’s your life.”

River rescue

Tuesday proved to be a busy day on the Spokane River for law enforcement.

Police attempted to arrest a man in his early 20s, Josh Kratz, mid-afternoon on the 1500 block of East Mallon Avenue for reckless driving and driving with a suspended license. But Kratz refused to go into custody and jumped into the river to escape.

Police, the fire department and swift-water rescuers responded, eventually getting the man safely out of the water. He would have faced misdemeanor charges but Kratz will now also face charges for obstruction of justice, said Sgt. David Staben with the Spokane Police.

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