October 8, 2008

Man Missing After Being Swept into Lewis River

By John Branton

Rescuers from Clark and Cowlitz counties late Tuesday were looking for a man who was swept into the North Fork of the Lewis River near the Happa Road Boat Launch, several miles east of Woodland.

About 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, 911 dispatchers radioed that a 42-year- old man who'd been fishing had fallen into the river from an island near the boat launch. The area is in far north Clark County off Northeast Etna Road, which spurs off Cedar Creek Road.

His friends had been looking for the man for about 20 minutes before the call, according to KATU-TV.

The man was last seen downstream from the boat launch. He fell into the water while wading in the channel on the north side of the island. He was wearing blue jeans and a red hoodie sweatshirt.

Three boats were sent to the scene. The river's current is swift and there are shallow areas, which complicated the search.

Among the agencies responding to the call were the Clark County Sheriff's Office, Fire District 13 from Yacolt, the Woodland Fire Department and North Country Emergency Medical Services, which has an ambulance at the scene. Cowlitz County authorities were also on the scene.

Officials radioed about 10:30 p.m. that rescuers were searching the shorelines on foot, and that it was also hoped someone in a boat might find the man on shore. They said the shoreline on the Cowlitz side is difficult to access and is a rocky canyon wall.

One search group has a thermal imaging camera that can detect body heat in the darkness.

Members of a dive team were alerted to begin searching the river at daylight today if the man hadn't been found.

Originally published by John Branton.

(c) 2008 Columbian. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.