Outing ends in tragedy

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SANDPOINT — A Tuesday outing ended in tragedy after a mother and her children went swimming near the Morton Slough boat launch on the Pend Oreille River.

According to the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office, the trio were swimming near the boat launch when the mother realized she could not find either child. Deputies responded to a 911 call at 4:13 p.m. about the missing youths, arriving at 4:28 p.m. Members of the Bonner County Dive Team were on scene and immediately in the water by 4:37 p.m.

In a press release, BCSO officials said the boys were inexperienced swimmers who started out wearing life vests, but took them off believing the water was shallow and were unaware of the current in the river.

The older child, a 17-year-old male, began to experience difficulties staying afloat, and started to panic. His mother jumped in the water, but began to be taken under by her son’s struggles and swam to shore to summon help. At that point, BCSO officials said his 11-year-old brother tried to assist the teen and began to struggle as well.

Citizens who were in the area heard the mother’s cries for help and were able to locate the 17-year-old, bring him to shore, and immediately began CPR. They were unable to locate the 11-year-old, BCSO officials said.

Deputies took over CPR, and eventually Bonner County EMS and Selkirk Fire personnel arrived and took over life-saving measures.

While the life-saving measures were being performed on the teen, members of the Bonner County Dive Team located the 11-year-old in about 6 to 7 feet of water. The youth was not breathing and life-saving measures were immediately started. Life Flight was launched and on scene quickly. The 17-year-old male eventually gained a pulse, however, he was still unconscious and in critical condition as of Tuesday evening, according to the press release. The teen was flown to Kootenai Health.

His 11-year-old brother never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the scene, BCSO officials said.

Caroline Lobsinger can be reached by email at clobsinger@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.

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