Man dies at falls near Sultan, in third death since 2018

Michael S. Guzman, 26, died Saturday. Two others have drowned in the Young’s Creek falls in the past 1½ years.

SULTAN — A Monroe man died after falling into a waterfall Saturday south of Sultan, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

A witness reported around 3:50 p.m. that two people slipped and fell into the water near Cedar Ponds Lake. One of the men made his way out of the ravine. He attempted to pull his friend, Michael S. Guzman, to safety with a rope, but dropped him.

The scene was Young’s Creek off remote Dagger Lake Road, a few miles south of Sultan.

Guzman, 26, remained face-down in cold, swift water for more than an hour. Rescuers eventually hoisted him out with ropes and a stretcher. He was transported to EvergreenHealth Monroe in critical condition.

Guzman died of blunt trauma to the head, according to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office. It was determined to be an accident.

Two other people have drowned in the same series of waterfalls in the past 1½ years.

In March, Molly Acey, 28, of Everett, suffered a head injury and drowned at a falls nearby. Her body couldn’t be recovered until the next morning, when a 35-person search and rescue team returned to help with the recovery in rough terrain.

A year earlier, Jazmine Weitlauf, 22, of Monroe, fell over a waterfall in the same area April 12, 2018. Her body was recovered days later in a tangle of logs.

The sheriff’s office suggested that people follow safety tips when venturing near Snohomish County’s swift-moving rivers and creeks:

• Always wear a life jacket when you are on the water. Never go near moving water without one.

• Have a plan and share it with an adult. Plans should include what time you are leaving, what time you expect to be back and where you are going. Include what time someone should call 911 if you don’t return.

• Never swim while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• Beach logs, river banks and rocks near the shore are usually slippery. A fall can knock you unconscious and prevent you from being able to save yourself.

• Consider bringing a whistle. If you are in trouble, it could help alert nearby people.

• Keep kids within arm’s reach. Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 14 and younger.

• Don’t dive in. Two-thirds of catastrophic neck injuries occur in open water and the sea.

Reporter Caleb Hutton contributed to this story.

Zachariah Bryan: 425-339-3431; zbryan@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @zachariahtb.

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