They were a group of 6 running at high water. I believe Sam was running 5th. There was a known wood hazard and Sam went into it. He was under for ~10 minutes before he floated out. I believe it took over an hour before they were able to get to him—he floated downstream but there were rapids to portage so it took time to get to him. Tom O'Keefe
Kayaker dies in Snoqualmie River near North Bend
Updated: Feb 11, 2018
A kayaking trip turned deadly for a group of friends in North Bend Saturday afternoon. A man in his 20's died after an accident on the Snoqualmie River near Ernie's Grove and North Fork Road.
A rescue mission to find the kayaker turned into a recovery mission by about 3 p.m.
The King County Sheriff’s Office said a group of six kayakers launched into the water together, and at about 1:30 p.m., one of the kayakers, a man in his mid 20's, hit something in the water.
“The other members of his party actually saw him get into trouble, turn over in his kayak, his life jacket come off of him and he floated down the river and they pursued him,” said Sgt. Mark Rorvik, with the Sheriff’s Office.
He says the area where the crash happened is dangerous.
“We have done recoveries up in this area before. In fact we had one last summer pretty much the same area. It's very steep to try and get in by land,” Rorvik said.
“It's cold outside, the water is very cold,” Rorvik said.
The Sheriff's office says Chopper 7's pilot - the first on scene from the air - helped first responders locate the kayaks.
“Our pilot did talk to the Chopper 7 pilot and got some information from the Chopper 7 pilot that helped him figure out what his plan was,” Rorvik said.
But when crews found the group of kayakers, the victim had already died.
“Very sad,” Rorvik said. “He came out to have fun and something happened.”
Local firefighters with Gold Bar Firefighter's Association Saturday identified the person killed as longtime volunteer Firefighter/EMT and rescue technician Sam Grafton.
Kayaker drowns in Snoqualmie River
Originally published February 10, 2018
King County Sheriff's Office Sgt. B.J. Myers said deputies used a helicopter to remove the body from the river.
A male drowned Saturday afternoon in the north fork of the Snoqualmie River north of North Bend while kayaking with a half-dozen others.
Eastside Fire & Rescue responded at 1:36 p.m. to the Ernie’s Grove area, near Southeast 70th Street. Capt. Steve Westlake said the victim had been trapped underwater by a tree’s root ball, but that his body later floated free.
King County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. B.J. Myers said deputies used a helicopter to recover the body downriver. The Medical Examiner’s Office is reviewing the death. No name has been released.
Expert paddler -extensive world travel.
Today is a very sad day. My friend Sam Grafton lost his life kayaking in Washington. He was one of my favourite kids during my years of running Wave Trek and blossomed from a young man into a fearless adventurer who traveled the globe to follow his passion of kayaking. You will truly be missed and my heart is broken.