July 18, 2012 in City

Rushing river claims man’s life

Waterway’s conditions not safe for poor swimmers, those without life jackets
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Rescue personnel from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office carry the body of Kyeffer Scott up the bank of the Spokane River east of Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley on Tuesday. The man reportedly fell off his inner tube Monday night.
(Full-size photo)

Emergency crews have retrieved the body of a 21-year-old man who fell into the Spokane River on Monday night while floating on an inner tube.

The body of Kyeffer Scott, of Spokane, was found near the Mission trailhead on the south side of the river in Spokane Valley about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. He was found about 12 feet underwater about 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 moves quickly, full of riffles and rapids. Several bikers and runners were on the Centennial Trail while divers retrieved the body but were diverted away from the recovery effort.

Scott went into the water when his tube flipped, and he was not wearing a life jacket. A kayaker saw him 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 lightning and high winds.

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

“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 on the water to wear life jackets.

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

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

Police attempted to arrest a man in his early 20s mid-afternoon on the 1500 block of East Mallon Avenue on suspicion of reckless driving and driving with a suspended license.

The man refused to be taken into custody and jumped into the river to escape.

Police, the fire department and swift-water rescuers responded, eventually getting the suspect safely out of the water.

The man would have faced misdemeanor charges but now will also face charges for obstruction of justice, said Spokane police Sgt. David Staben.

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