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1 person injured following 5 separate water rescues over the weekend

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One of five water rescues in Bonneville County over the weekend. | Photos: Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office

The following is a news release from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office.

IDAHO FALLS – On Saturday, Aug. 1, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to five different water rescue events on the Snake River and at the Palisades Reservoir.

The first was located above the Byington Boat Ramp on the Snake River, east of Ririe, where a jet boat was stuck on rocks at a diversion. Another boat was able to help three juveniles off while deputies were responding, but then had a mechanical issue and couldn’t get back to get a final adult passenger. Deputies arrived a short time later and retrieved the final passenger from the boat, which by then was partially submerged in the middle of the river. Deputies also assisted in getting the boat unstuck and pulled to the bank where it could be retrieved from the water. There were no injuries in this incident and all of the occupants were wearing life jackets.

Just after clearing the Byington Boat dock area, at approximately 6:15 p.m., dispatch began receiving multiple 911 calls about a storm burst over the Palisades Reservoir area causing several boats to capsize and fill with water. Lincoln County Wyoming dispatch also received multiple 911 calls as the area affected on the reservoir was near the Alpine, Wyoming area. Deputies responded to Palisades Reservoir along with Lincoln County Wyoming Deputies and medical personnel from the Swan Valley and Alpine area. As the information sorted out and deputies arrived, they found at least three boats had capsized or taken on water. One of those three, with one adult occupant, was removed by the owner and did not require assistance from emergency responders.

A second boat with six people on board, five adults and one teenager, capsized during the storm and briefly trapped an adult female underneath. The woman was wearing a life jacket at the time and was able to free herself from under the boat, but suffered a cut to her head. One other occupant injured his back during the incident and was also wearing a life jacket at the time. The other four occupants were uninjured and three of the four were wearing life jackets. Nearby boaters on jet skis assisted all six occupants to the shore and guided emergency personnel to their location.

Deputies located the third boat that had capsized and had two adult occupants, both of which had to swim to the bank as their boat took on water. Both individuals were uninjured and able to tie the submerged boat off near the shore.

At approximately 10:45 p.m., deputies responded to the Gem Lake area of the Snake River to a report of a stranded boat just a few hundred yards upstream from the 65th S. river bridge. An adult and two children were on the boat and had been trying to get off the river for over an hour but could not. Deputies and Idaho Falls Fire personnel responded and were able to get the boat and occupants towed back to the boat ramp. No injuries were reported in that incident.

Deputies with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team responded to the Palisades reservoir on Sunday, Aug. 2nd to retrieve the two remaining submerged boats.

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone of the importance of using life jackets. Weather and conditions in our area can change very rapidly with no time for occupants to stop, retrieve, and properly put on a life jacket. Always plan for safety, constantly watch weather and water conditions, and never underestimate what can happen. Never operate a watercraft if you’ve been drinking or been using illegal drugs. Report other boaters who may be impaired or putting others at risk by unsafe boating habits. Make safety and proper planning a priority whenever you’re on the water and you will greatly reduce the risk of having to be rescued.

Click here for more information on boating safety, equipment, and water conditions.

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