Accident Database

Report ID# 3648

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

 Billings man dies in Stillwater River accident June 25, 2012

By Clair Johnson

A 31-year-old Billings man died Sunday afternoon in a boating accident on the Stillwater River after he stopped to try to help other boaters.

Stillwater County Sheriff Cliff Brophy on Monday identified the victim as Jack Bennett. Brophy said the sheriff's department received a 911 call at 5:09 p.m. reporting that a man was trapped under water about five miles south of Columbus in a stretch of the river known as the Beartooth Drop. Witnesses told authorities that Bennett, who was paddling a kayak, was trying to help other floaters whose raft had become wrapped around a bridge pylon, Brophy said. Bennett was not part of the float party. No other serious injuries were reported.

Bennett's family members and others at the scene helped retrieve Bennett from the water. Efforts to resuscitate him began immediately and were continued by ambulance workers. Bennett was pronounced dead at the Stillwater Community Hospital. Brophy said the cause of death was drowning. Emergency responders included the Stillwater County Sheriff's Office, Columbus Police Department, Columbus Fire and Ambulance and Stillwater County Search and Rescue.


One person is dead after a river rafting trip turned tragic in Stillwater County late Sunday afternoon. A 31-year-old Billings man, Jack Bennett, died late Sunday afternoon, Stillwater County Sheriff Cliff Brophy said. Nystul said the sheriff's office received the call around 5 p.m. on the Stillwater River near the Beartooth Hereford Ranch. The caller reported Bennett was underwater in the area known as Beartooth Drop.

Witnesses described Bennett as attempting to assist other floaters when their boat was wrapped around a bridge pylon. Bennett was not part of the float party that wrapped its boat around the pylon. No other serious injuries were reported. Search and Rescue and the Columbus Fire Department responded to a location of the river, about five miles south from Columbus. Paramedics performed CPR and transported the man to Stillwater Community Hospital in Columbus where he was pronounced dead.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!