2 safe after raft overturns in Stillaguamish River

ARLINGTON — A rafter was rescued from the South Fork Stillaguamish River after taking refuge in some fallen tree branches Thursday, officials said.

The rafter was checked by medics and was expected to be OK.

A ranger from River Meadows County Park, 20416 Jordan Road, radioed for help shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Initially, two people were reported to be in the water. One quickly made it to shore, but couldn’t climb up a 15-foot bank, said Travis Hots, chief of the Arlington Rural fire district.

Rescuers dropped a rope to the rafter and he was able to climb to safety.

The other man had been ejected from the raft.

He clung to some dead trees until the Stillaguamish Swift Water Rescue Team could reach him with a hovercraft. The rescue team includes personnel from the Arlington Rural, Oso, Darrington, Silvana and Granite Falls fire districts.

The hovercraft was from the Arlington Rural station about five miles from where the men were stranded.

Both men were believed to be in their 50s.

The raft overturned in the middle of the river. The stretch has some fast-moving water and the fallen trees, Hots said.

Both men were wearing life jackets.

“These two guys were very lucky,” Hots said. “The life jackets very likely saved their lives.”

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldent.com

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