Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald                                Johnny Marcello jumps into the swimming hole at Eagle Falls with Ian Vincent, left, and Bostin Otto, center, looking on Thursday morning just outside Index, WA on July 14, 2016.

Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald Johnny Marcello jumps into the swimming hole at Eagle Falls with Ian Vincent, left, and Bostin Otto, center, looking on Thursday morning just outside Index, WA on July 14, 2016.

Eagle Falls near Index risky for swimmers, rescue crews

INDEX — The water’s not the only danger at Eagle Falls, a popular swimming hole on the South Fork Skykomish River, about four miles east of Index.

Already this year, there’s been an increase in rescues at the falls, Index Fire Chief Ernie Walters said. Emergency crews are being summoned there several times a month. The hotter-than-normal spring was a likely factor, he said.

“We’ve had calls out there in March and April for people getting injured, when normally you don’t get them until June or July,” he said. “I know we’ve had more in the beginning of the year so far than we’ve had previously.”

Most of those 911 calls have been for people slipping on rocks, though sometimes the mishaps involve cliff diving and awkward landings. There haven’t been life-threatening injuries lately so much as broken bones, Walters said. One man had suspected spinal injuries that turned out to be less serious once he got to the hospital.

“We get a lot of ankle injuries out there,” Walters said. “It’s an uneven climbing area.”

The rescue part is complicated though. It usually involves rappelling.

“The only way to get to them realistically is set up a rope system and bring them up that way,” Walters said. “We can’t effectively pack them out. You have to go through water. We try not to get them into the water if we can. That’s why we’ve had to use ropes.”

Conditions are always changing along Snohomish County rivers. The county tourism site describes Eagle Falls as a “noisy 25- to 40-foot cascade.”

Three years ago, an 18-year-old man drowned in the area of Eagle Falls. His body was found about 200 feet from the base. He was not wearing a life jacket. The water’s frigid temperature likely was a factor in the death, officials said at the time.

There can be hundreds of people out there on a sunny day, mostly children and teenagers, Walters said. He reminds people to remember not to drink alcohol and swim, and that loaner life jackets are available at the fire department in Index, as well as stations in Gold Bar, Monroe and Sultan.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Photo by Kira Erickson/South Whidbey Record
Freeland resident Kevin Lungren has been commuting to the office using his paddleboard. It's a commute he can do in all seasons and just about any type of weather, except wind.
Whidbey commuter paddleboards his way to work in all seasons

The financial advisor says he’s only fallen off his board twice in the past five years.

Photo by Heather Mayhugh
Stuart Peeples demonstrates how to enter Heather Mayhugh's wheelchair van. In recent months, while navigating the new Mukilteo ferry terminal, Mayhugh has struggled to unload her clients who need access to the restroom.
People with mobility issues find new ferry terminal lacking

Some disabled folks say not enough thought went into improving the Mukilteo facility’s accessibility.

Temporary Lake Stevens Library to open this summer

The location will serve as the Sno-Isle branch until the proposed civic center campus is complete.

$500,000 available for Edmonds nonprofits

Organizations can apply for Edmonds Rescue Plan funds until Aug. 20.

Parts of Snohomish County under weekend heat advisory

Monroe and areas of the county near the Cascades were expected to see highs in the 90s.

Marysville man wins $100,000 in military vaccine lottery

Carmen S., who served in the Vietnam War, claimed his $100,000 cash prize this week.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
State AG says it can’t investigate Lynnwood Jail death

Tirhas Tesfatsion’s family pushed Lynnwood leaders for an independent inquiry. Her death was ruled a suicide.

JaNeen Aagaard donates blood at Bloodworks NW Friday afternoon in Everett at July 30, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Blood shortage strains local agencies, hospitals

Some blood types have reached critically low levels, and blood collection agencies are pleading for donations.

COVID-19 case reported at crowded Lynnwood council meeting

A person who attended the Monday meeting tested positive for the coronavirus just days later.

Most Read