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In Brief: Body of rafter missing after Salmon River accident recovered

Fri., June 20, 2014

LEWISTON – The body of a 35-year-old Coeur d’Alene man missing after a June 8 rafting accident on the Salmon River has been recovered about 80 miles downstream in the Hells Canyon area of the Snake River.

The Nez Perce County Coroner’s Office on Wednesday identified the body of Andrew Joseph “A.J.” Gray.

The Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office told the Lewiston Tribune that a river guide reported finding the body and securing it to rocks.

Deputies on Tuesday traveled about 35 miles south of Lewiston to recover the body.

Authorities said Gray was rafting near Lucile when the raft flipped, spilling several people into the river.

Gray was not wearing a life vest and couldn’t be located.

Bone fragment likely part of human skull

Authorities in North Idaho said a piece of bone found in a remote area south of Sandpoint is likely part of a human skull.

Bonner County sheriff’s Capt. Ror Lakewold told the Bonner County Daily Bee in a story Thursday that other evidence leads investigators to make a preliminary determination that it’s human.

He declined to say what other evidence exists.

A person walking through the woods on June 10 found what appears to be the top portion of a skull.

Lakewold said visual identifiers on the skull are consistent with it being human.

He said an attempt could be made to extract DNA.

Plane that crashed in Montana was antique

SULA, Mont. – An airplane that crashed near a western Montana ski area, killing its pilot, was an antique that was being flown to Montana from Florida, Ravalli County officials said.

The twin-engine Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious plane had been flown from Florida to Minnesota before Michael Blume, 62, of Burnsville, Minnesota, took over to bring it to Hamilton, Undersheriff Steve Holton said.

The plane crashed and caught fire Tuesday in the parking lot of the Lost Trail ski area lodge near the Montana-Idaho border. Blume was the only person on board, Holton said.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Larry Lewis said the airplane appeared to come straight down into the ground and there was no evidence the pilot had tried to land in the parking lot.

“The aircraft wasn’t in landing configuration,” and the landing gear was not deployed, Lewis said.

NTSB investigators will talk to witnesses, look at maintenance records and interview people at airports the pilot used to search for clues to the probable cause of the crash, Lewis said, adding that the plane was an antique likely built in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

The plane had made stops in Dillon, Montana and Salmon, Idaho before the crash, Holton said.

Sisters on the Fly meeting in Idaho

Sisters on the Fly, a women’s outdoor adventure and trailer camping group, will hold its regional meet-up at Lutherhaven this weekend.

About 150 vintage travel trailers, most decorated and named, will take part, according to Lutherhaven. The camp is about 8 miles south of Coeur d’Alene on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

A public “show and shine” will take place Saturday from noon to 3 p.m.

The group will be raising money for Casting for Recovery, a breast cancer therapy organization.

Sisters on the Fly was founded in 2000. The group has chapters across the country. For more information, visit

Fireworks explosion victim identified

TENINO, Wash. – The Thurston County coroner has identified the 75-year-old man fatally injured in an explosion and fire at a fireworks plant near Tenino, Washington.

Coroner Gary Warnock said the victim who died Wednesday was William Hill, of Olympia.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said the man died at Entertainment Fireworks before he could be airlifted to a trauma center. Elwin described the man as a longtime employee.

The Olympian reported two other men were injured in the explosion. Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg said a 25-year-old man flown to the Seattle hospital was treated and released. Elwin said a less seriously injured 52-year-old man was taken to an Olympia hospital.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the state Department of Labor and Industries are investigating the explosion.

A company spokesman said Entertainment Fireworks produces professional fireworks shows around the region.

Flood threat remains for Glacier County

KALISPELL, Mont. – The rain is tapering off after dumping up to 8 inches over parts of Glacier National Park this week, but the extra water running off the mountains means the threat of flooding will remain.

The National Weather Service has extended a flood warning for Glacier County east of the park until Friday evening.

All that precipitation is expected to come off the mountains and cause already swollen waterways to rise even higher.

Park officials warn of debris, snow and mudslides, and say the avalanche danger is high along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The Milk and Two Medicine rivers, along with Divide, Cut Bank and Swiftcurrent creeks, are all above flood level and are expected to fall below flood stage over the next day or two.

Coast Guard receives three hoax calls

SEATTLE – The Coast Guard is asking the public to help identify whoever made hoax calls that cost the service hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted resources searching Washington’s Hood Canal for a sinking fishing vessel that wasn’t there.

Hours of searching the nights of May 31 and June 1 involved helicopters and boats and cost more than $200,000 in fuel, aircraft maintenance and other expenses. Sheriff’s and tribal boats also searched.

Petty Officer David Mosley in Astoria, Oregon, said a man contacted the Coast Guard by radio both nights. The first night he said a fishing boat was sinking with five people on board. The next night he said a boat was sinking with two adults and a child.

A man with the same-sounding voice radioed a third time on June 2 and falsely said a body had been found near Seabeck.

Mosley said Thursday the Coast Guard hasn’t received any tips yet.


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