Missing Randle man possibly drowned in Riffe Lake

Witnesses from two different ships said a 36-year-old man from Randle tried to swim to shore but couldn’t make it.

LEWIS COUNTY, Wash – The body of a Randle man who reportedly drowned in Riffe Lake was recovered Tuesday.

Deputies were called to Riffe Lake around 3pm Monday for reports of a possible drowning. Witnesses from two different ships said a 36-year-old man from Randle tried to swim ashore from a derelict ship. According to witnesses, the man was apparently in “distress”.

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Officials said a boat with a tow rope tried to rescue the man from the ship but they were unable to reach him in time.

“Unfortunately, Lewis County is no stranger to these types of tragedies, and we want to remind the public that while warm weather has finally arrived, the water in our lakes and other bodies of water remains cold and can be potentially hazardous.” the Lewis County Sheriff in a press release Tuesday.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office dive rescue team responded to help locate the man, but they were unsuccessful before nightfall. On Tuesday, the team resumed the search for the missing person.

MPs are urging swimmers to wear life jackets in the water after a deadly weekend. Four people drowned over the weekend, including two children. Two children are in critical condition after being pulled unresponsive from Lake Stevens on Sunday.

Though the weather is warm, the lakes and rivers of western Washington are still dangerously cold.

“I’m going to put my boys at risk and myself to save someone,” said Sgt. Rich Barton with KCSO’s Marine Rescue Dive Unit.

Barton said he’s seen an increase in drownings in recent years, with 29 drownings in King County in 2021 alone. According to the county, two-thirds of deaths could have been prevented with a life jacket.

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https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/missing-randle-man-possibly-drowned-riffe-lake-crews-continue-search/281-c86c5c37-e9b7-487a-bb31-66f65ce7e792 Missing Randle man possibly drowned in Riffe Lake

Alley Einstein

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