Sunriver man dies in Washington whitewater kayaking accident

A Sunriver man drowned Sunday after a whitewater kayaking accident in Washington, according to the Clark Co. Sheriff’s Office.

Clark and Cowlitz county emergency personnel were alerted to an incident on Canyon Creek just after 5 p.m.

The 911 caller said he and two friends had been whitewater kayaking in Canyon Creek where it flows into the Lewis River (near the Yale/Merwin Hydro dam) when one of the friends had gotten trapped under water.

The kayaker was removed from the water and his friends tried to resuscitate him. While one friend stayed behind to continue lifesaving efforts, the other paddled back to where they had parked their vehicles, then drove to the Chelatchie Store to call for help.

Responders from Cowlitz-Skamania Fire District 7 (FD7), Clark County Fire District 10, North Country EMS (NCEMS), Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue (CCFR) and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office converged on Lake Merwin in an effort to get to the two remaining kayakers, who were located in a remote area accessible only by boat.

The victim, 20-year-old Blaine M. Davis, and his friend were located on Canyon Creek by a rescue boat piloted by FD7 personnel.

The CCSO Marine Unit arrived a short time later with NCEMS personnel and rescue swimmers from CCFR on the CCSO Patrol Boat Crawford.

FD7 personnel continued with resuscitation efforts which were not successful and Davis was pronounced dead at the scene.

Davis’s body and the remaining kayaker were brought back to Cresap Bay boat launch, where the Clark County Medical Examiner was waiting.

Davis was wearing a lifejacket and gear appropriate for whitewater kayaking. He was also equipped with an emergency locater beacon, which was activated and assisted in locating he and his friend.


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