Everyone safe after rafts overturn in Wash. river

AP News
Posted: Apr 09, 2013 9:15 PM

INDEX, Wash. (AP) — A rafting trip where 10 people fell into a raging river in the Cascade Mountain foothills briefly launched rescue officials into high alert Tuesday, but the experienced outdoor group was able to safely navigate to shore.

"It was one of the most humbling swims I've had in a while," said Sean "Spare Rib" Horst. "Both boats got pummeled."

The rapids flipped the two rafts, sending all 10 people in Horst's group into the water. But everyone was fine as they came onshore to a large group of media gathered for them.

Snohomish County sheriff officials then briefly talked to the group, who were nearly all smiles and donned wetsuits, helmets and other safety gear.

The group of men and women, who all work in the Stevens Pass Ski Area, had planned the trip for about a year. They chose to go in April because the waters are high then and the river isn't crowded.

Earlier Tuesday afternoon, a person had seen the group fall into the waters of the Skykomish River and called authorities. By the time rescue crews were dispatched to the stretch of river between the towns of Index and Gold Bar, the group had recovered to their rafts.

The area is popular for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Winter rains and snowmelt have swollen the river, which includes class 4 and 5 whitewater rapids.

"It was like buttercream from the top," Horst said, describing the water.