Collin Strobeck, Bostin Otto, Johnny Marcello and Ian Vincent make their way over the landscape of Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River on July 14, 2016, just outside Index. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Collin Strobeck, Bostin Otto, Johnny Marcello and Ian Vincent make their way over the landscape of Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River on July 14, 2016, just outside Index. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Two men drown in lakes; several rescued from Eagle Falls

The hot weather lured people to potentially dangerous waters.

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE — A hot weekend lured people to water across Snohomish County, and at least two people died from drowning.

One man died presumably from drowning in Mountlake Terrace, another near Woodinville and several people needed rescue from a popular and dangerous stretch of the Skykomish River near Index.

“Obviously we want people to enjoy the beauty we have up here,” Sky Valley Fire Assistant Chief Ernie Walters said. “But we want them to be safe.”

A 33-year-old Mountlake Terrace man presumably drowned Sunday night in Lake Ballinger, Mountlake Terrace Police Cmdr. Pat Lowe said.

The man was with family around 7 p.m. when he swam out to an island in the middle of the 100-acre lake. After at least 45 minutes, his family couldn’t see him and looked for him, then called 911. South County Fire, Mountlake Terrace police and a dive team searched for hours but didn’t find him, Lowe said.

They found him about 30 yards from the beach in the water when the search resumed Monday morning. He was not wearing a life jacket or other personal flotation device.

Mountlake Terrace owns and manages Ballinger Park on the lakeshore, where there is a calm, designated swimming area. There is no lifeguard on duty.

Lowe said the lake isn’t too cold and, despite averaging maybe one drowning a year, is otherwise safe when people take precautions. He advised people to remain in the designated area near the park, stay sober, use flotation devices and have a plan with others if they swim out of view.

In Crystal Lake near Woodinville, a 71-year-old man’s family pulled him from the water Saturday afternoon, and attempts to revive him failed, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office identified him as Brian H. Speakes, of Woodinville. The cause and manner of his death are still investigation.

The medical examiner’s office had not released the identification of the 33-year-old man as of Monday.

Across the county, several people required help over the weekend as Sky Valley Fire practically set up shop at Eagle Falls on the Skykomish River near Index. The agency responded to five incidents there Saturday and Sunday, Walters said.

Around 3:40 p.m., they got a call that a man who was floating on the river above the falls was washed down over them and was pulled from the water by bystanders. When emergency medical responders arrived, he was mostly unresponsive until they were en route to an airlift pad in Gold Bar. They weren’t able to learn the man’s age.

“That was the first one,” Walters said.

They had to return to rescue the man’s 16 family members, including at least six adults who were across the river and afraid to return to the side closest to the highway, he said.

Just minutes later, a 56-year-old man was helped out of the river by Good Samaritans. He didn’t require medical transport after nearly drowning, Walters said.

Around 4:30 p.m., a 6-year-old girl almost drowned.

Social media videos of people going through the rapids or jumping into the river have increased its popularity, Walters said. On hot, sunny weekends they normally get one or two calls for help at Eagle Falls, but not four or five.

“The problem is it’s so packed and so busy at Eagle Falls because they have access to it, it’s visible from the highway,” Walters said. “The river’s running still cold because there’s a lot of ice melt and snow melt.”

He said people should wear life jackets if they go in the river and stay below the falls to avoid being swept over and into the water’s churn, which can bash them into the rocks below. People who have questions about the water can stop at Sky Valley Fire stations to ask for safe locations for rafting or swimming.

“We’d love to have them stop by and ask us prior to them going into a situation where they could potentially get hurt,” Walters said. “… We work up here and know this area well.”

Also on Saturday, four deputy sheriffs rescued a man who was stranded in debris on the Stillaguamish River, according to a Facebook post from Snohomish County Fire District 22 at Getchell, which deployed its drone to several swift-water rescues over the weekend.

Ben Watanabe:; 425-339-3037; Twitter @benwatanabe.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A driver struck a woman in a motorized wheelchair Saturday in Lynnwood. (Lynnwood police)
Woman on wheelchair hit by car in Lynnwood, seriously hurt

The woman was on a sidewalk, passing by a drive-thru in Lynnwood, when a driver pulled out and hit her.

A barge worker hauls in an oil boom before heading off with the remains of the Mukilteo Ferry Dock ramp and pier on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington. With the new dock in operation, all that is left is to tear down the old ticket building. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Old Mukilteo ferry dock afloat on the barge of ‘Lincoln Logs’

The haul included 213 wood pilings, 15 concrete pilings, 47 steel pilings and a “Speed Limit 15” sign.

State Patrol worker from Everett charged with attempted child rape

Trevor Smith worked as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer assigned inspecting school buses.

FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2021, file photo, the Legislative Building is shown partially shrouded in fog at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state's richest residents, including Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, would pay a wealth tax on certain financial assets worth more than $1 billion under a proposed bill whose sponsor says she is seeking a fair and equitable tax code. Under the bill, starting Jan. 1, 2022, for taxes due in 2023, a 1% tax would be levied not on income, but on "extraordinary" assets ranging from cash, publicly traded options, futures contracts, and stocks and bonds. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Federal package could drive more than $10B to Washington

The state would get $7.6B for COVID response, schools and child care. Snohomish County is in line for $160M.

Samantha Lake
Missing girl, 12, found safely

Seattle FBI located Samantha Lake on Friday.

Everett man identified after being found dead in creek

The cause of death for Renee Baltazar Romero remained under investigation Thursday.

Jeanette Ho Shin Weddell, 96, died of COVID-19 on Dec. 29, 2020. (Contributed photo)
Marysville grandmother, 96, was one in half a million lost

In a week when the president took time to mourn COVID deaths, local families were grieving, too.

An access road leads into plot of land located in north Darrington that could potentially be used to build a 30-acre Wood Innovation Center, which will house CLT manufacturing and modular building companies on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Darrington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$6 million grant is green light for Darrington timber center

The Darrington Wood Innovation Center is set to become a reality — bringing roughly 150 jobs with it.

Report shows vaccine inequities in Snohomish County

The county’s Hispanic population is getting doses at a third of the rate of white residents.

Most Read