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Man dies in rafting accident on Middle Fork of Flathead

| June 22, 2022 7:35 AM

A 43-year-old man was killed Tuesday after his raft capsized on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in rapids below Moccasin Creek, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office said in a release.

Three men were in a raft when the accident occurred. All of them had lifejackets on, Sheriff Brian Heino said. The victim was a local man. His name was not immediately released.

The accident happened in a rapid just below Moccasin Creek when the raft tipped, spilling the occupants into the river.

The man's body was recovered by a Search and Rescue crew several miles downstream near the West Glacier golf course.

The exact cause of the man's death is still under investigation.

The Middle Fork of the Flathead was near flood stage on Tuesday.

Heino said search and rescue and the department also had an incident on Flathead Lake at the same time — a boat was stuck in the channel and was stranded, which put a further strain on resources.

Heino urged folks to use extreme caution when on area rivers, or better yet, wait until the water drops.

“The Flathead County Sheriff's Office encourages the public to remember, that while the rivers are cool and inviting, they are incredibly unsafe currently. The rivers are extremely high and dangerous. The water is high, cold, and there is a significant amount of debris in the river. The river conditions are ever changing, and high waters make the water extremely unsafe,” the Department said in a release.

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