An Elma man drowned while swimming in the Chehalis River yesterday.
The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office tells KXRO that at about 12:20pm on July 12 they were dispatched to a report of an Elma resident who had been swimming in the Chehalis River in the vicinity of the South Elma Bridge.
They say the 18 year old man had become distressed and had gone under the water.
When police arrived, a 17 year old Elma girl who had been swimming with the man reported that the two of them were attempting to swim across the river to a gravel bar when the man became distressed.
She tried to help him before swimming to shore to get a pallet for him and during that time he went under.
The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office, Fire District #5, and the Elma Fire Department responded to the area and a sheriff’s office boat was launched to try and find the victim.
The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office was also called to assist with their Dive Team.
The sheriff’s office says that numerous personnel, a boat, a drone, and several Thurston County divers searched for the man and at just after 9:00pm divers found the victim under water.
The Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office says this was a very tragic event for all involved and they want to remind everyone how dangerous our local waterways can be.
They say yesterday’s temperature in Elma was in the 90’s and the water temperature was approximately 54 degrees below the surface which can be stressful on even the strongest of swimmers.
The sheriff’s office would like to thank all of the first responders that assisted with this operation, especially their region 3 partners from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team.
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