Heartbreak as emergency crews recover child who drowned in Sand Creek

By Reader Staff

The community is mourning a 7-year-old boy who drowned during the afternoon of Aug. 4 in a stretch of Sand Creek between Sandpoint and Ponderay.  

Emergency crews responded to the report of a missing child near the Popsicle Bridge at approximately 2 p.m. The boy had last been seen on the rocks at the edge of the creek. First responders from Selkirk Fire, Bonner County EMS, Sandpoint and Ponderay police, and the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office conducted the search, but were unable to locate him from the shoreline or bridge. 

According to a news release from the city of Sandpoint, two members of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team found the child under 12 to 15 feet of low-visibility water. Officials reported he was not wearing a flotation device and family members said that he did not know how to swim. 

Following attempts at resuscitation by Bonner County EMS, the boy was transported to Bonner General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased. There were no visible signs of trauma. 

Names will not be released at this time pending family notification, according to the city. 

Officials underscored the need for water safety — particularly regarding children — noting that drowning is the fifth-leading cause of unintentional death for minors aged 14 and younger. 

“With the high temperatures in the past week, there has been an increase in water activities in and around Sandpoint,” the city stated. 

“We want to remind everyone that a person can begin to drown in less than 20 seconds,” Sandpoint Police Chief Corey Coon stated in the release. “Swimming in natural bodies of water requires more knowledge and additional skills than using a swimming pool. Many of our bodies of water, including Sand Creek, have deep holes and debris that can’t be seen from the surface.”

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