BONNEVILLE COUNTY, IDAHO – A Saturday filled with boating accidents and some close calls made for a very busy weekend for Bonneville County Sheriff’s Deputies, as they responded to five different water rescue events at both the Snake River and Palisades Reservoir on August 1st.
The first rescue, located above the Byington Boat Ramp on the Snake River east of Ririe, involved a jet boat stuck on the rocks at a diversion. Another boat was able to help three juveniles off while deputies were on their way to the emergency; after their arrival, deputies were able to retrieve the final adult passenger, as well as assist in getting the boat unstuck and pulled to the bank.
Almost immediately after clearing the Byington Boat accident, deputies responded to multiple calls at apporixmately 6:15 pm about a storm burst over the Palisades Reservoir area, causing several boats to capsize and fill with water. At least three boats had been capsized or had taken on water when deputies arrived.
While the first boat was removed by the owner and did not require assistance from emergency responders, a second boat, with six people on board, had capsized and briefly trapped an adult female underneath. She, along with another passenger that injured his back when the boat overturned, were both wearing lifejackets and were able to escape. The other four occupants were uninjured. All six occupants were assisted to shore with the help of nearby jet skiers.
Deputies located a third boat that had capsized at the reservoir and had two adult occupants. Both boaters were able to swim to the bank as their boat took on water, as well as tie the submerged boat off near the shore.
At approximately 10:45 pm, deputies responded to the Gem Lake area near the Snake River to a report of a stranded boat upstream from the 65th river bridge. An adult and two children were onboard and had been trying to get off the river for over an hour. Deputies and Idaho Falls Fire personnel were able to get the boat and occupants safely towed back to the boat ramp.
On Sunday, August 2nd, the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was back at the Palisades Reservoir, retrieving two of the remaining submerged boats from Saturday’s accidents.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone of how important the use of Life jackets can be on our waterways. Weather and conditions in our area can change very rapidly with no time for occupants to stop, retrieve, and properly put on a life jacket. Always plan for safety, constantly watch weather and water conditions, and never under estimate what can happen. Never operate a watercraft if you’ve been drinking or using illegal drugs and report other boaters who may be impaired or putting others at risk by unsafe boating habits. Make safety and proper planning a priority whenever you’re on the water and you will greatly reduce the risk of having to be rescued. For more information on boating safety, equipment, and water conditions visit www.boatidaho.gov.