Friday, July 19, 2024

Two men drown Saturday in Glacier National Park

by The Western News
| July 9, 2024 7:00 AM

Two drownings claimed the lives of two men in two different areas of Glacier National Park Saturday.

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

Glacier National Park dispatch was alerted at 8:37 a.m. Park campground staff were on the scene almost immediately, followed by law enforcement rangers at about 9 a.m.

A.L.E.R.T. 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. Rangers believe the body is caught underwater in the gorge. 

Due to poor visibility and hazardous conditions, ongoing search efforts will be scaled down, but 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.

Saturday evening, a 28-year-old Nepal man 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. A.L.E.R.T. 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.