205 W 5th Ave
Ellensburg, WA 98926-2887
Monday - Friday
8 AM - 5 PM
Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
Kittitas County, WA -
On Saturday, May 20, a group of seven young people from the Moses Lake and Warden area launched down the Cle Elum River near the Salmon La Sac campground on a raft of connected innertubes. Within minutes, their makeshift raft was caught by tree limbs and underwater hazards and swamped by the fast-running river. The party was scattered, and one juvenile suffered an injury to his ankle. When they gathered, they realized a 17-year-old male was missing. They called for help around 12:30 pm.
Medics and firefighters responded along with Sheriff’s deputies and began to search downriver. The Sheriff’s Office deployed Swiftwater Rescue Deputies and drones to assist the search and prepared to launch a jet boat. Approximately two hours after the initial call, the Swiftwater Rescue team found and recovered the 17-year-old, tragically drowned and trapped under a submerged log in the river. The young man was wearing a Personal Floatation Device.
The juvenile with an ankle injury was transported to Kittitas Valley Hospital by medics and reunited with his family.
Sheriff Myers and all of us grieve for the family of the drowned young man.
We also look ahead with concern to the rest of this recreational season, starting with the coming Memorial Day weekend.
When the rivers of Kittitas County are running high, as they are now, they can be dangerous for even skilled and well-equipped operators. Rivers are wild environments, not maintained to be easy or safe to navigate. They hold visible and unseen hazards, and fast-flowing water can easily overpower vessels and even fit, strong people. Our rivers, and the lakes and reservoirs they feed, are also extremely cold, capable of producing almost instantly disabling or deadly cold-water shock.
Kittitas County welcomes users of its beautiful outdoor recreational opportunities but urges caution when deciding when and whether to get in the water. Recognize and respect the hazards of wild waterways, know your capabilities and limitations, and please act carefully to enjoy our outdoors and our waters safely.
If you have questions about recreating on Kittitas County lakes or rivers, call the Sheriff’s Office at 509-962-7525 and ask to talk with a Marine Patrol Deputy.
Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at http://www.co.kittitas.wa.us
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.