Story available at http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2007/06/23/news/state/52-tubing.txt
Tubing accident hospitalizes boy
By Gazette News Services KALISPELL
A teenage boy was in critical condition Friday after his inner tube flipped on the Stillwater River and he was pulled under a submerged tree limb. Andy Irvine, 15, was pulled unconscious from the river in Evergreen Thursday afternoon by rescuers and taken by ambulance to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Two friends, Sam Kuhlin and Eric Brinton, had tried to rescue him, but the river's swift currents hindered their efforts to free Irvine from his life jacket, or the life jacket from the snag. The friends ran to a nearby construction worker for help and he called 911. Irvine had been submerged at least 15 minutes by the time rescuers arrived.
Flathead Search and Rescue Coordinator Jordan White said he had to cut the straps of the boy's life jacket to free him and pull him from the snag. He stressed that the accident should not deter people from wearing life jackets. "For the tiny percentage of times they might get someone in trouble, it's not worth the risk of not wearing one," White said. Irvine is the son of Hal Irvine, the chaplain for the Kalispell Fire Department. Members of the department were with the Irvine family at the hospital Friday.
Copyright © The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.
BOY IN TUBING ACCIDENT DIES