A Snohomish County firefighter drowned while kayaking in the Snoqualmie River near North Bend Saturday afternoon.
The incident occurred on the North Fork of the Snoqualmie, near the end of SE 70th Street, near Fantastic Falls, also known as Jacuzzi Falls, but it’s unclear what caused the death of the experienced kayaker.
“It’s really unknown what happened… with any accuracy,” said Capt. Steve Westlake, spokesman for Eastside Fire & Rescue which responded to the 1:32 p.m. call, “other than he got caught in a strainer (a large tree’s rootball that obstructed the water flow) and went under for an unknown amount of time, then popped out of there and continued going down the river.”
The King County Sheriff’s marine unit was called to assist in the retrieval of the victim, but the body ultimately was retrieved by helicopter.
Samuel Grafton, 26, was a firefighter with the Gold Bar Fire Department. He started his career as a volunteer firefighter, EMT and swiftwater rescue technician in Index in 2009.