ZILLAH, WA - The Yakima County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a boater who reported he was stranded in his boat which was stuck in a log jam in the Yakima river near Zillah. A patrol Deputy located the boater approximately 6 miles upstream from the Granger boat launch. This section of river is shallow with many gravel bars and log jams. It was determined a boat would be the safest way to perform a rescue operation.
The 33-year-old duck hunter and his Black lab Gus had launched in an 18-foot jet boat at the Granger boat launch, traveled upriver to the N. Meyers Rd Bridge, and turned around to head back to the launch. As the boat traveled downstream approaching an island the operator was trying to position his boat to go down a narrow channel when the current caught the boat and pushed it into a large log jam, pinning the boat in a precarious and dangerous position.
The operator quickly realized the danger of the situation and correctly chose to call for help rather than put himself in grave danger attempting to free the boat. Yakima County’s Swift Water Rescue was advised of the situation and responded to the call.
At the time of this incident, the new boat needed to replace the aging river jet for shallow river operations, River 1, was being transported to the Sheriffs Office from the manufacturer in Idaho. The boat had been in Yakima County approximately 20 minutes at the time of this call and was dispatched to the Granger launch.
YSO SWR personnel traveled approximately six miles up the Yakima river to the location of the entrapped boat with dusk rapidly approaching. After approximately 20 minutes of cutting logs and maneuvering the entrapped boat with rope it was pulled free of the log jam by River 1. The boat was pulled up river to a safe location where a quick inspection was conducted before both boats returned to the Granger launch in the dark.
Without River 1 there was no way YSO could have safely freed the entrapped boat by pulling it up stream freeing it from the log jam. With the additional safety lights and shallow water capabilities of River 1 the freed boat was safely escorted downstream to the Granger boat launch in darkness. River 1 performed flawlessly during its maiden voyage and will serve the residence of Yakima County for many years.