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Two Dead in Columbia Capsizing Identified

by Staff
KGW, May 2, 2010

WISHRAM, Wash. – Two people who died Friday when a fishing boat capsized in the Columbia River have been identified as members of the Yakama Nation.

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that death notices prepared by Colonial Funeral Home of Toppenish identified them as Jessica Lewis, 29, of Wapato and Wilson LaRoque, 57, of Toppenish.

Meanwhile, search boats from the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission and the Warm Springs and Umatilla tribes searched Saturday for a third fisherman presumed drowned. They were turned back by bad weather.

Four members of the Yakama Nation were on the boat when it capsized. One person made it safely to shore.

Authorities said the boat capsized early Friday on the Washington side of the river, near The Dalles.

The four people on board were in the process of pulling in gill nets on their 18-foot boat when a wind-driven swell swamped their boat, investigators said. All on board were cast into the 51-degree water. The lone known survivor made it to shore on the Washington side of the river, then ran four to five miles to report the incident.

The Coast Guard said they got their first reports around 7 a.m. from the lone known survivor. A Coast Guard helicopter helped in the search, along with officers in boats and a sheriff's office dive team. The water temperature was reportedly 51 degrees. The Coast Guard estimated a person could surive four hours in the water at those temperatures.

The survivor said a swell consumed the vessel. Winds in the area were gusting at about 30 miles an hour at the time.

Two Dead in Columbia Capsizing Identified <-- Watch at original site.
KGW, May 2, 2010

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