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2nd Nooksack River rafter’s body located, more details released

GLACIER, Wash. — Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office released new information along with the news that a second body had been located following a rafting mishap on June 14th in a section of whitewater on the north fork of the Nooksack River.

First responders were dispatched about 2:55pm to an area of the north fork of the Nooksack River Tuesday, June 14th, due to a report of people in the water after a raft overturned.

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Spokesperson Deb Slater told Whatcom News via email that deputies determined there were 5 people on board including a guide when the raft capsized.

In a WCSO press release today, June 16th, it was noted that the raft belonged to a commercial operation and the 4 passengers, 2 male and 2 female, were customers. Their ages have not been released.

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The 2 females were rescued by the guide and the males were swept away in the current.

Immediately, Deputies dispatched Summit to Sound swift water rescue technicians, K-9 and drone operators. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) also responded along with a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter which arrived around 4:30 pm.

At 7:30 pm, local kayakers affiliated with Glacier Fire located the body of the young male submerged in a log jam approximately ½ mile from where the raft had flipped. Search operations were suspended at dusk with plans to resume the following morning.

On June 15th at 7:30 am, the search for the missing male resumed with swift water technicians, ground searchers, and local kayakers. At 3:45 pm, CBP again responded with a helicopter and found the body of the missing male downriver of the Highway 542 bridge, just west of Glacier.Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office press release (June 16, 2022)

A central base of operations for the search and rescue effort had been set up at the Whatcom County Fire District 19 Glacier Fire & Rescue Station on the Mount Baker Highway near where the raft had overturned.

The Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death for the younger male was drowning and the cause of death for the second male is also expected to be drowning but an official determination had not been released. Both were wearing wetsuits, helmets and lifejackets.

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