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Idaho man drowns in Salmon River after diving in to rescue swept-away dog

Outdoors

GRANGEVILLE (Idaho Statesman) — A weekend rafting party on the Salmon River took a tragic turn when a man jumped into the water to try to save a pet.

A group of rafters were floating down the Salmon when a dog that they had brought was caught up in a current and swept away, according to the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. One member of the party, 55-year-old Richard Scyphers, of Lewiston, jumped in to try to get the dog. The sheriff’s office said he was wearing a life jacket.

While attempting to save the pet, Scyphers disappeared around the river bend near Pine Bar Recreation Site and was not seen again by his group, officials said.

Another group of rafters saw Scyphers “floating face down in the river” and brought him ashore, where they “attempted lifesaving measures but were unable to revive him,” the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office told the Idaho Statesman that the dog survived.

Idaho County Dispatch received a call about the incident at about 4:30 p.m. The rafters who found Scyphers took his body downriver to American Bar, located 10 miles from Cottonwood, where they met with Idaho County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Idaho County Coroner Cody Funke and Cottonwood Police Chief Terry Cochran, a news release said.

“We are truly thankful for everyone’s willingness to assist during this emergency,” the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “… Mr. Scyphers’ family has been notified. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard’s family during this difficult time.”

When it comes to pets getting swept up in a river, the sheriff’s office noted that dogs are typically good swimmers. If one gets picked up by a current, Idaho County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Monica Walker said it’s best to let the dog get to shore on its own.

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