3-year-old drowns in Bitterroot River


MISSOULA, Mont. - A Ravalli County 3-year-old boy was pronounced dead early Saturday morning at Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital after an accident Friday afternoon on the Bitterroot River.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman tells us the boy was with his father and 6-year-old brother on a raft just north of Bell Crossing fishing access when the raft hit a log jam and flipped.

Attempts using CPR to revive the boy were unsuccessful.

The following is a press release with more information:

Ravalli County Sheriff/Coroner Chris Hoffman says that a three year old Stevensville boy drowned in the Bitterroot River on Friday afternoon.

Hoffman said that the child, his father, and his six year old brother were floating the river in an inflatable raft when the accident occurred, just north of Bell Crossing fishing access between Victor and Stevensville.

The father told sheriff's deputies that they had come to a fork in the river, and he attempted but was unable to paddle to shore to avoid a log jam.  The raft hit a log and flipped, ejecting all three occupants into the water and under the jam.

The father and the six year old surfaced downstream of the log jam, but the three year old became trapped underneath. The boy's father searched for several minutes before finding him and extricating him fromthe hazard. The father began CPR and was able to attract the attention of a person working in an adjacent field.

The incident was called into the Ravalli County 911 Center, and Emergency Medical Services from Hamilton, Victor and Stevensville responded to Bell Crossing, along with Sheriff's Deputies. The boy was transported to Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, and efforts to save his life continued late into the night;however, the boy was pronounced dead early Saturday morning.

The Sheriff's Office is withholding the child's name, pending family notification.

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