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Teen drowns attempting to swim across Spokane River

UPDATED: Tue., July 23, 2013, 4:22 p.m.

An 18-year-old man drowned Tuesday afternoon trying to swim across the Spokane River near the Sullivan Road bridge in Spokane Valley, the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department said.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to the scene, about a quarter mile west of the bridge, after a call from bystanders around 2:20 p.m. The teen jumped in the water with a female friend after witnessing others swim across the span, Spokane Valley Fire Department spokesman Bill Clifford said. Neither were wearing life jackets.

CPR was performed on site after the victim was pulled out of about five feet of water by witnesses, but he could not be revived. The Medstar medical helicopter landed nearby but was dismissed when the victim was pronounced dead, Clifford said.

No blood was found at the scene and authorities do not yet know if alcohol was involved, Clifford said. A rocky bank near the site forced rescuers to enter the water in kayaks to recover the body.

Clifford urged swimmers to wear life jackets and be aware of dangerous undercurrents despite the river’s shallow depth.

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