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Man dies after being trapped by log in Spokane River

Sat., July 21, 2012, 8:52 p.m.

A rafter died after being trapped underwater by a log in the Spokane River for about an hour while rescue workers used chain saws to free him, officials say.

A man using a raft entered the water beneath the Sandifur Bridge in downtown Spokane about 1 p.m. Saturday and attempted to stay afloat by holding onto the log. Witnesses said he went underwater shortly, as rescue crews from the Spokane and Spokane Valley fire departments arrived.

Working from a boat, rescue workers attempted to cut away the log, which had pinned the man underwater, Spokane Fire Battalion Chief Bruce Moline said in a news release. They eventually succeeded in cutting enough away to extricate the man.

The victim was transported to Deaconess Hospital, where he was declared dead, the Spokane Fire Department said via Twitter.

The Spokane Police Department is investigating the cause of the incident.

Fire officials urge people rafting and tubing on the river to wear life jackets. “River current can be very tricky,” Moline said.

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