Accident Database

Report ID# 3984

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

Accident Description

RIGGINS, Idaho—Searchers are looking in Idaho County for two missing Coeur d'Alene men. Patrick Lusk, 27, and Jason Gritten, 35, never arrived Sunday night at French Creek area of Salmon River Road as planned. The two Kootenai County men planned to canoe across the river and hike Burgdorf Hot Springs. The Idaho County Sheriff's Office said Lusk and Gritten never showed up after the trip. Family members eventually reported them as missing. Search crews found the vehicle the men were driving, but did not find the men. Searchers returned to the area Monday and looked for Lusk and Gritten by boat. Sheriff's deputies said the search would continue Tuesday.

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho. -- Idaho officials have stopped search efforts for two missing Coeur d'Alene men, but family and friends are still looking. "He's a family member. We're worried about him. We don't want to give up hope until we absolutely know," said neighbor Amy Thorne about missing camper Jason Gritten. Pat Lusk and Gritten were in the middle of a camping trip on the Salmon River in Central Idaho when they disappeared.

Coeur d'Alene men vanish on Riggins' canoe trip

The Idaho County Sheriff stopped searching on Tuesday. Friends and family say they plan to search the Salmon River for at least the next week. The investigation began when the two never arrived at a planned area along the river on Sunday night. Neighbors say the two were travelling in a camper they had been refurbishing together. They said the two met as neighbors and became friends over a mutual love for the outdoors. Investigators described the terrain in the area they went missing as extremely rugged. Search crews found their canoe more than a mile downriver, but saw no other signs of the Kootenai County men.

Body of second missing man pulled from Salmon River

KREM Staff, June 1, 2015

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Idaho County Sheriff's Office said Monday they have found the body of a man who went missing during a canoeing trip on the Salmon River. Officials said the body of 27-year-old Patrick Lusk of Coeur d'Alene was found in the Salmon River Sunday at 3:15 p.m. about one mile down river from French Creek. Deputies said Lusk and Jason Gritten, 35, were reported missing by family on May 17 in the French Creek area of the Salmon River. Gritten was found by family and friends searching the river on May 27. Reports stated that Lusk was taken to Blackmer's Funeral Home in Grangeville.

Two canoeists drowned while trying to cross the Salmon in a canoe with no life jackets.

Our last river was to be the Salmon. On this trip we had 4 boaters, with one shuttle bunny. It was to be a schizophrenic trip. We ran a section on the Main Salmon from Carey Creek to Spring Bar. Big water, as usual on this part of the Salmon, but a beauty of a day on a beauty of a river. About halfway down, I saw something in the water that looked strange. So I rowed over and realized it was a body floating face down in the water. I blew my safety whistle and called the others back. The body was floating in a big eddy, so we corralled it and nerfed it to shore, where we pulled it up partially on some rocks. The riverbank was 20 feet straight up, so we could not move the body or even get up the bank to a gravel road that ran up above us.

So two of our group floated downstream to where they could get up the bank to the road to look for help. The short version is that we eventually made contact with the local Sheriff in Riggins, Idaho, who then sent a motorboat on a trailer to Spring Bar which then went back upstream for the body. Turns out the guy was one of two canoeists who tried to cross the Salmon without lifejackets. They made it across to visit a hot springs on river right, but when they tried to get back they flipped over and both drowned. This guy was wearing blue jeans, heavy boots and a T-shirt.

The police and emergency crews had been searching for the body for two weeks. The other canoeist had been found four days earlier. We all know better than boating without a life jacket, but it is still the harshest reminder of all to find someone who has died because of it. Never leave shore without one.

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