Spokane Valley Fire Department Press Release:
A fifty-one year old male was successfully rescued Sunday afternoon by members of the Spokane Valley Fire Department's Swift Water Rescue Team after his kayak overturned on the Spokane River near North Flora Rd in the Spokane Valley. While navigating the River rapids, the male's kayak filled with water and capsized. The kayaker was swept downstream in the swift currents and was unable to reach the shoreline. Resources from the Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) were dispatched at 3:22 P.M. Sunday afternoon to The River House At The Trailhead Apartments in the 16600 block of E Indiana Ave. where witnesses reported a man in distress unable to reach shore safely. Responding rescuers were able to make contact with the kayaker as he approached the North Sullivan Rd bridge and were unable to reach the individual with shore based rescue equipment. Fire Department rescuers in kayaks were able to reach the male as approached the Spokane Valley Mall area and successfully remove him from the river where he was provided medical evaluation by SVFD and AMR personnel. The male required no further medical treatment.
One engine company, one ladder truck, two water rescue units, and one battalion chief responded to this incident, with a total of 12 personnel on the initial request for assistance. Swift Water Rescue resources from the Spokane Fire Department were initially requested through an automatic aid agreement, however their response was discontinued when SVFD resources made contact with the kayaker. The kayaker was wearing appropriate flotation equipment while navigating the River, providing him with a significant level of protection from potential drowning.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department strongly recommends all persons floating the river wear not only flotation devices, but helmets providing protection from potential head injuries. Additionally, all persons floating the River are encouraged to do so with experienced partners.