Child drowns in Pend Oreille River

Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff Writer

An 11-year-old boy died Tuesday in a drowning incident at the Morton Slough boat launch on the Pend Oreille River.

A 911 call around 4 p.m. stated that the boy’s mother could not locate either of her children, the other boy being 17, in the water. A press release from the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department stated that the boys were “inexperienced swimmers” who removed their life vests thinking the water was shallow and slow enough to swim without them.

When the 17-year-old began to struggle in the water, his mother attempted to help him but couldn’t, so she swam to shore for help. It was then that the younger boy tried to help, but struggled to stay afloat as well.

People in the area heard the mother calling for help and managed to retrieve the 17-year-old from the water. He regained a pulse and was flown to Kootenai Medical Center. Members of the Bonner County Dive Team found the 11-year-old in over six feet of water, and after attempting life-saving measures, he was announced dead on the scene.

“It was a very unfortunate set of circumstances,” said Bonner Country Undersheriff Ror Lakewold. “A life preserver perhaps could have mitigated the situation, but they thought they were in shallow water. They just found a deeper section while playing in the water.”

Lakewold said the 17-year-old swimmer is in critical condition.

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