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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rescuers convince distraught man to climb out of Spokane River

UPDATED: Tue., June 27, 2017

A rescue team spent nearly an hour trying to coax a distraught man out of the Spokane River as he waded in shallow water Tuesday afternoon, drawing attention from neighbors and passersby.

Rescuers from the Spokane Fire Department surrounded the man in inflatable kayaks just upriver from the Avista Corp. headquarters on Mission Avenue. Crews were initially dispatched at about 12:30 p.m. to the Greene Street bridge, where he reportedly had jumped into the river.

Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said the man was initially shouting for help, “however, when we made numerous attempts to rescue him, he refused help.”

Neighbors emerged on apartment balconies along Upriver Drive to watch as first responders negotiated with the man near the eastern bank. Joggers and bicyclists also stopped along the roadside path where emergency vehicles and additional rafts were on standby.

The man wore a green polo shirt and appeared unharmed as he waded near the kayakers and two police officers who approached him at the river’s edge. After much discussion he climbed out of the water, shook hands with rescuers and hiked up the eastern bank.

Spokane police Officer John O’Brien, a spokesman for the department, said the man was not arrested but rather “directed to resources to check on his medical and emotional needs.”

However, Schaeffer said the man refused a medical evaluation and a ride to the hospital.

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