UPDATE: Man who drowned at Palouse Falls identified - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

UPDATE: Man who drowned at Palouse Falls identified

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UPDATE: The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says the 22-year-old man who drowned at Palouse Falls over the weekend is James A. Hopkins of Lake Stevens, Washington.

Deputies say after a combined effort by local law enforcement, fire departments, MedStar and Dive Rescue, they were unable to find and recover his body. They have suspended recovery efforts due to unsafe water under the falls.

Deputies say Hopkins drowned while swimming with friends.


FRANKLIN COUNTY, WA- Columbia Basin Dive Rescue, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, and the Pasco Fire Department continue to search for a 22-year-old man's body who went missing while swimming at the base of Palouse Falls Sunday evening. 

According to the Palouse Falls State Park, this is the 6th incident this year.  It is only May and things have continued to warm up quickly.  Crews want to warn people to stay safe.

Rescue teams said three people were swimming when they started struggling.

"At one time there were fences to keep people off the trails and away from the falls area," said Captain Rick Rochleau, with the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. 

The fences are gone, and since then, there are more incidents like Sunday's.  While people are allowed to go down there, Cpt. Rochleau suggests that people do not swim there. 

"It's certainly not advisable," said Cpt. Rochleau.

Just recently, there have been many incidents of hikers getting injured and other dangers outdoors.  One family visiting Palouse Falls Sunday remembers the entire rescue from above.

"There were people from the bank throwing in logs to help rescue the two males drowning in the waterfall," said Savannah Galvez, witnesses drowning.

Her family ran to get help.

"I was scared and nervous because I had never seen that or experienced that," said Galvez.

They shot video of the two helicopters trying to make the rescue.  The entire thing scared her kids. 

"My daughter woke up this morning because she could not sleep all night because she just kept thinking about seeing the boys go under the water," said Galvez.

"This is not the first time somebody has been lost down at the falls," said Cpt. Rochleau.

The man's name has not been released, but rescue teams hope others will be safe as more people head outdoors.

"The falls are beautiful, but they can be dangerous," said Cpt. Rochleau.

A rescue like this takes hours because of how steep Palouse Falls is.  Franklin County Sheriff's Offices said this is not the first time for something like this.  They do not advise people to swim out there.