Accident Database

Report ID# 3550

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • High Water

Accident Description

Search turns into a recovery for missing teen in the Kettle River

by Posted on May 25, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Recovery crews scour the Kettle River for teen’s body

NEAR KETTLE FALLS, Wash. -- A rescue mission to save a 14-year-old girl in the Kettle River has turned into a recovery mission. Officials said 14-year-old Laura Enquist went canoeing with her 11-year-old brother, mother, and grandmother Wednesday afternoon. They were in the river between five and six miles north of Kettle Falls in Stevens County. The mother and grandmother got out of the canoe but the kids wanted to go further. Authorities said the family made arrangements to meet at a campground down river.

At some point the canoe capsized. The 11-year-old boy, Joseph, had a life-jacket and made it to shore. His sister was not wearing hers. "Conditions are bad. The water is moving extremely fast from all the runoff in the mountain north from Canada. There's a lot of debris. There is actually full sized trees and log coming down the river. It's not an ideal time to be in the river," said Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen. The Stevens County Sheriff's Office,

National Parks Service, Border Patrol and volunteers have been searching the shoreline all day. They're also checking the boom that catches all the logs coming from the Kettle River into Lake Roosevelt. So far there has been no sign of the girl. Authorities said they will continue into the evening. They said they may have to scale back on Friday.

Laura was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white sleeveless shirt, and black lace-up tennis shoes. She is 5’3”, 120 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.


Hope Fleeting In Search For Teen Lost On Kettle River

A rescue mission for a missing canoeist that began Wednesday night near Kettle Falls is now a recovery mission. 14-year-old Laura Enquist disappeared when the canoe she and her 11-year-old brother were riding in, overturned on the Kettle River four miles north of the confluence with the Columbia River. The kids put the canoe in the water at a boat launch along with their mom and grandma Wednesday afternoon. Near the launch is a sign that reads, "Life Vests: They work when you wear them." It's a message that could have potentially saved Laura Enquist's life. "If you're going to be out on the river, put your life vest on," Stevens County Sheriff Kendle Allen said.

Laura and Joseph took the canoe out on to the fast moving waters of the Kettle River when they capsized after hitting a rapid. Joseph had his life jacket on and made it to shore. Laura did not make it to shore. Their grandmother Irene Enquist was with the children's mother as she waited to pick the kids up after their float on the river. "She seen Joseph on the bank there and he was hollering 'I think something happened to Laura'," Irene said.

On Thursday search crews walked the length of the river, paying special attention to eddies and a log boom that catches debris from the Kettle River as it flows into the Columbia. "We've gone to the places where we think things would accumulate," Sheriff Allen said. Neither Laura nor the kids' bright orange canoe have been seen since Wednesday, however search and rescue crews did recover one thing: Laura's life jacket.

"To go home at night knowing your child is in this water, I can't imagine what they're going through," Sheriff Allen said. "I'm just trying to accept things as it is and hope the good lord finds her body," Irene Enquist said. After two days scouring the river and its banks crews plan to scale back their efforts Friday. "If there was some hope its very fleeting," Sheriff Allen said.

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