A hiker ferrying gear across the river
Flathead River Drowning Victim Identified
BY TRISTAN SCOTT
JUL 15, 2020
Flathead Beacon, Kalispell, MT
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office has identified the
victim who drowned Sunday night while using a small raft to ferry gear across
the Middle Fork of the Flathead River near Essex.
Richard Ross, 40, of Oak Grove, Missouri, fell while
crossing the river and was swept downstream at approximately 10 p.m. on July
12, according to Sheriff Brian Heino, and authorities discovered his body
around noon the following day. He was not wearing a life preserver at the time
of his death.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and North Valley
Search and Rescue responded to a call at 3:47 a.m. on Monday, deploying ground
search crews along with Two Bear Air Rescue and Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s
A.L.E.R.T. helicopter. After searching unsuccessfully in the dark, the
operation resumed later that morning.
According to Heino, Ross was part of a group that was
attempting to cross the river at a remote spot north of Essex in order to set
up camp. After the accident occurred, the remaining members of the group had to
hike out to a residence in order to get cell phone service and call 911.
The death is the second on the Flathead River in less than
a month. Dennis D. Bee died after his raft overturned in late June near
Columbia Falls. Neither man was wearing a life preserver at the time of his
death. The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office reminds those recreating to “please
wear life jackets and be familiar with changing river conditions.”