Walla Walla man dies in drowning - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Walla Walla man dies in drowning

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WALLA WALLA, Wash--  A trip to the Walla Walla River in Touchet turns deadly.  Sheriff's deputies say a group of people were by the river Wednesday afternoon when one man jumped from a cliff to the water below.  He didn't survive.

Sheriff's deputies have identified him as 24 year-old Joshua Zahl from Walla Walla.  They think he had been drinking beer before jumping 26 feet to the water.  The area of the accident is known as the Touchet Flats.

It appears Zahl jumped into the water from a nearby cliff.  The water is 14 feet deep, but he supposedly landed on his stomach and face.  Friends tried to save him but couldn't.

There's now a strong warning from sheriff's deputies who say accidents like this, especially involving alcohol, can be a recipe for a nightmare.

"It's a popular site," explains sergeant Tom Cooper with the Walla Walla Sheriff's Office.  "I think people have actually been going there and doing cliff jumping for years and years.  Obviously we're promoting safety and people to be cognizant of the fact that there are inherent dangers with alcohol and with the water specifically."

Right now sheriff's deputies don't suspect any foul play.  It's not known if there's going to be an autopsy.