GOLD BAR, Wash. – A 27-year-old kayaker from Monroe is in critical condition after a near-drowning in the Skykomish Riveron Tuesday. UPDATE: he died the next day
Friends told KOMO News he was an experienced kayaker and worked at a Monroe sporting goods store.
Rob McKibbin, a kayaker from Index, said he knows of the water hole the kayaker got trapped in.
“That hole at that level, it’s kind of like a pour over, the water falls back on itself, and it’s like a washing machine, it just continues to go,” said McKibbin.
According the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, two other kayakers carried him out of dangerous waters and began CPR efforts.
He was in critical condition on Wednesday, according to a spokesperson with Evergreen hospital.
“The frequency of these events has taken a toll on all of our guys,” said Assistant Fire Chief Ernie Walters, Fire District 26 in Index.
Since April, Walters said his crews have responded to five drownings in Snohomish County.
“Nobody is impervious to this river, it’ll take anybody unfortunately.”
Walters urged those heading into backcountry waters to know what they’re getting themselves into.
“Know the area where you want to swim in or float in and obey all the signs out there, because we put them out there for a reason because it’s for your protection.”
McKibbin, who’s kayaked for twenty years, said while preparation is essential and experience helps, everybody is at risk of the river’s hazards.
“The force of the river is a lot stronger than it always looks – even to the people who are on the river frequently,” said McKibbin.
Kayaker pulled from Skykomish River dies
Dugan Flanders had experience on the river
Photo courtesy of Werner Paddles: Dugan Flanders was pulled out of the Skykomish River on Tuesday, July 3, where he had been paddling. He died the next day at Evergreen Hospital.
MONROE MONITOR WALLEY NEWS
A Monroe kayaker pulled from the Skykomish River and transported to Evergreen Hospital in critical condition on July 3 did not survive.
The King County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed 27-year-old Dugan Flanders died on July 4 from accidental drowning.
Flanders spent four years in the Marines before returning to Monroe, where he had worked for Werner Paddles since May 2015. This January he was promoted to the position of southwest sales representative, according to the Monroe company’s Facebook page. According to a Werner Paddles news release, the Skykomish River was Flanders' favorite place to paddle.
The Monroe man had been whitewater paddling in the Skykomish River on Tuesday, when he was reportedly caught in rough water about four miles east of Gold Bar, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
Two other kayakers were able to reach the man after the current carried him further downstream, according to a news release.
The sheriff’s office and Snohomish County Fire District 26 responded when the 911 report came in around 7 p.m. The kayakers were performing CPR on the Monroe man at this point.
Flanders is the sixth person to die this year from drowning in a Snohomish County river.