First responders save woman in Puyallup River

Jun 4, 2024, 3:20 PM

Photo: Mount Rainier over the Puyallup River....

Mount Rainier over the Puyallup River. (Photo: David Seibold, Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo: David Seibold, Flickr Creative Commons)

First responders rescued a woman in her 30s from the Puyallup River in Fife Tuesday afternoon.

Witnesses who saw her struggling to get out of the swift-moving water called 911.

“Several officers, from other agencies, immediately tried to throw her ropes and life jackets as she was going down the river with the current,” Pierce County Sheriff’s Sergeant Darren Moss told KIRO Newsradio’s Heather Bosch.

“Eventually they were able to throw her a life jacket that she got on,” he said.

But as she was pulled further downstream, Moss said there was no time to wait for a boat.

“We did have two people go in their gear, their safety gear and life vests, to just go rescue her out of the river,” he said.

Rescuers brought her up the river bank to paramedics. Moss said she was conscious but likely exhausted and cold.

“We’re concerned about hypothermia in this kind of situation,” he said. “The water in our rivers is very cold.”

Moss said it’s unclear how she ended up in the river.

Other news: Rough seas strand cruise ships, await tugboats to help dock 

According to the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), rivers during the Spring are often high and swift due to snow melt and can “easily overwhelm the strongest swimmer.” During the summer, water that feels warm on the surface may be much colder deeper down.

The DOH stated people should know their limits before swimming in open water, which can be much harder to swim in than a pool. They should also wear a life jacket. Children 12 years old and under must wear a life jacket on moving boats less than 19 feet long, per Washington law. Swimmers should also prepare beforehand by checking river or stream conditions by contacting the U.S. Geological Survey at 253-428-3600 ext. 2635.

For more resources on water safety, visit the DOH’s website.

Contributing: Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor and reporter on KIRO Newsradio. You can read more of her stories here. Follow Heather on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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