Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Two drown in separate incidents in Glacier National Park; man's body trapped in Avalanche Gorge

by Hungry Horse News
| July 7, 2024 6:00 PM

Two people drowned in separate incidents Saturday in Glacier National Park. One victim drowned in Avalanche Gorge and the other in Lake McDonald.

The Avalanche Gorge victim’s body has yet to be recovered, park officials said in a release. 

A 26-year-old male from India was hiking past the gorge on Avalanche Lake Trail when he went into Avalanche Creek around 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, Glacier officials said. Friends and witnesses saw him go into the creek, go underwater, and resurface briefly before being swept up by the current and into the gorge. 

ALERT helicopter conducted aerial searches of the creek and more than 10 rangers scoured the area, but the person has not yet been found and is presumed dead. The call came in at 8:37 a.m.; campground staff were on the scene almost immediately and law enforcement rangers were on the scene by 9 a.m. 

Rangers believe the body is caught underwater in the gorge. Due to poor visibility and hazardous conditions, ongoing search efforts will be scaled down and rangers are monitoring the area. Avalanche Creek is at high water level due to snow melt runoff and the gorge is extremely dangerous, making conditions impossible for rangers to enter the gorge. 

The young man was living and working in California and on vacation with friends. 

Then on Saturday evening, a 28-year-old male from Nepal was swimming with friends in Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground. According to friends, he was an inexperienced swimmer. He was about 30 yards out when he started to struggle, went underwater, and never resurfaced. 

Dispatch received a call at about 6:25 p.m., and rangers were on the scene by about 6:50 p.m. ALERT helicopter and Three Rivers ambulance responded but stood down when park rangers were able to determine the location of the body 30 yards offshore and 35-40 feet underwater. The Flathead County Sheriff’s dive team responded and recovered the body at about 8:20 p.m. 

The Nepal native was living and working in Portland, Oregon and on vacation with friends. 

Names have not yet been released. Park officials have contacted the Nepal and India consulates for assistance in contacting next of kin. 

Drowning and falling are the two leading causes of death in Glacier. Counting these two, there have been three drownings in Glacier this summer. A woman drowned in Virginia Creek on June 23.