Valley Deputies Risk Safety to Pull Suicidal Man from River
Spokane Valley Deputies pulled a suicidal male out of the Spokane River after he jumped from the Trent Bridge, east of Pines, falling approximately 75-100 feet before slamming into the frigid, fast moving Spokane River.
Friday afternoon at approximately 3:30 p.m., Spokane Valley Deputies responded to a report of a highly intoxicated male walking in traffic on Trent, east of Pines. A couple minutes later a citizen advised the male was now sitting on the guardrail of the bridge overlooking the Spokane River. The caller stated the male had his feet over the guardrail, was staring at the river and it appeared he might jump. A few minutes later the distraught male fell forward out of sight and toward the water.
The Spokane County Sheriff Office Dive Rescue and Spokane Valley Fire Water Rescue Teams were immediately called to respond.
Deputy J.P. Melton and Deputy Tom Walker, both with previous extensive swift water and water rescue training in their careers, arrived on scene and began contacting witnesses as they attempted to locate the male. Information from witnesses stated the male was hung up on some brush approximately 300 yards downstream. Deputy Walker and Deputy Melton, assisted by Deputy Bullion and Deputy Pratt began working their way downstream in an attempt to get ahead of the male and rescue him.
Deputy Walker had grabbed a “throw bag” and a PFD (personal flotation device) he kept in the trunk of his patrol vehicle when he first arrived on scene.
The deputies followed directions of witnesses who said the male let go of the brush and was floating downstream. They made it ahead of the male and Deputy Melton utilized the throw bag placing rope right in front of the male but due to is injuries or his suicidal intention, he did not grab it. Realizing the need to possibly enter the very cold and fast moving water to save the males life, Deputy Walker began removing his duty belt and firearm, securing them with the deputies and donned his PFD.
The male disregarded commands and appeared to intentionally swim further from shore as he continued to be swept away by the current.
The deputies ran another 150 to 200 yards through the brush to again place themselves in front of the male to attempt another rescue. Deputy Melton threw the rope placing the throw bag within reach of the male but he wouldn’t grab it. At this point realizing he was the only one equipped with a PFD and the male was running out of time, Deputy Walker entered the water. Deputy Walker made his way out to the man and grabbed him and then the rope Deputy Melton had deployed. Deputy Melton, Deputy Pratt and Deputy Bullion maintained control of the rope and pulled the men to shore. Spokane Valley Fire Water Rescue Team arrived and began to provide the male with the much needed medical treatment for the injuries from the impact with the water and his exposure to the frigid water.
The male was transported to a local hospital where he is listed in stable condition.
Thank you to all the caring members of our community who swiftly called 911 and provided critical information to the responding deputies allowing them to pull this man, in dire need of help, from the water. It is this combined effort, along with the immediate medical care provided by Spokane Valley Fire, the man has a second chance and no one else was injured. Thank you to everyone involved.