KITTITAS COUNTY, WA - Kittitas County Sheriff's River Rescue and a member from Red's Fly Shop responded to a rafting accident involving a family of 9, ranging in age from 2-year-old Jaden Li to the 80-year-old grandparents Ling and Jin Li.
At about 5:30 p.m., witnesses stated some of the victims were on an island, some were clinging to brush and at least one was on shore. With support from Red's Fly Shop, the Sheriff's Jet Boat was launched and a search was initiated. One of the rafters was picked up by three fishermen in a drift-boat, who was transferred to the Sheriff's Boat near smiley-rock, One made it to Red's and the others, including the 2 year old, was recovered from their sinking raft above Big Pines.
All were returned to shore without injury and we are grateful for the public's support and assistance.
Per Undersheriff Myers, "These people were extremely fortunate. The craft they were using, a large inflatable square thing is designed for a lake or pond. These types of craft have next to no maneuverability and are generally single chamber, which means one tear or puncture will sink the craft. We encourage people who are new to the waterways in Kittitas County to call the Sheriff's Marine Unit 509-925-8534, for information prior to floating the river."