Michael Barrett of Bothell drowned in the Lewis County Ohanapecosh River after he was pinned underneath some large logs and rocks on Aug. 11.
According to Stacy Brown, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, the 41-year-old camper was first wading in the shallow part of the river and then moved out to the deeper section. Witnesses said Barrett pushed off a rock into the currant, and they believed he intended to ride the small waterfall down into the lower pool as he’s done before, Brown said.
Deputies were dispatched to the Mount Rainier Ranger Station at about 2:30 p.m. to survey the scene. The river is located just outside the park east of Packwood.
They noticed that some fellow campers and some kayakers had pulled Barrett out of the river and one of them was performing CPR on the man, Brown said.
Lewis County Fire Department No. 10 emergency workers then arrived on the scene, according to Chief Lonnie Goble, who noted that they soon took over CPR duties and continued doing so for the 50-mile ride to the Morton General Hospital.
Barrett was declared dead at the hospital at about 3:50 p.m., Brown said. He was identified Aug. 13 by the Lewis County coroner’s office.
Goble commended the campers and kayakers for their CPR and rescue work, noting that it was challenging removing Barrett from the rocky area.
The chief said that a person drowned in the same area of the Ohanapecosh River a few years ago. He added that his crew averages about one or two emergency calls to the river per year.