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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in the Inland Northwest: Ice skaters drown in lake; man survives fall into river

A 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy were skating on Spirit Lake, and one of them fell through the ice. (SR archives)
A 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy were skating on Spirit Lake, and one of them fell through the ice. (SR archives)

Two separate incidents involving plunges into icy water were in The Spokesman-Review. One story had a happy outcome, the other did not.

The first story involved A.W. McCall, a bridge carpenter who was working on a new Inland Empire Railway bridge over the Spokane River.

The scaffolding gave way and he dropped 40 feet, smacking into some woodwork on the way down. McCall later said he had no recollection of what happened between the fall and when he came back to consciousness on the shore.

His fellow workers witnessed the incident and filled in the story. They said he hit the water and immediately began swimming the 125 feet to the shore.

The other men raced down and pulled him out of the water. McCall said he must have “instinctively struck out” for shore, because he had always been an avid swimmer.

The second, sadder incident occurred on Spirit Lake. A 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy were skating on Spirit Lake, and one of them fell through the ice.

The other boy tried to pull him out, but “the weight was too much and he himself was dragged in.”

Another boy, 12, was with them, but was unable to render assistance. He raced to report the accident, but both boys were found drowned at the bottom of the lake.

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