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Toddler’s death: rivers deeper, colder than normal

Post by Sean Robinson / The News Tribune on May 27, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
May 27, 2011 9:20 pm

The water was too deep, the river too strong and the boy too young.
He was 2½, and he died Friday. He’d been camping with his parents in the Greenwater area, east of Enumclaw. One uncertain step, and the rain-swollen Greenwater River swept him away, according to Ed Troyer, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman.
Troyer gave this account of the incident: The boy’s mother and a family friend, who also brought children, were making lunch at a campsite near the river. The boy’s father was due to arrive later. Both parents work for local law enforcement agencies. Troyer declined to say which ones.
The boy was sitting a small chair, waiting for lunch. The next moment he was gone. The campers searched for him, and spotted their dog at the river’s edge.
“They see the dog at the river with his head in the water,” Troyer said. “Mom goes running to the river with her friend and they see the kid floating away, high speed, raging river.”
The area is remote: no mobile phone reception, tough terrain and limited access. The campers ran along the riverside. The boy’s mother drove to a nearby fire station and called for help. A search-and-rescue team arrived, along with the boy’s father, who joined the search. The father found his son downstream from the campground.
“He’s holding the kid, but it’s already been a long time at this point,” Troyer said.
The boy was transported to the fire station, then to an Enumclaw hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Troyer said the incident serves as a grim warning to holiday campers and picnickers. Rivers and creeks, typically at lower ebb by this time of year, are running swift and cold.
“Stay out of creeks and rivers,” he said. “They’re moving a lot faster than they normally are because of the excessive snowmelt, the small amount of warming that we’ve had recently and the amount of rain.”

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