Ravalli County Official Warns – Use Life Jackets on Bitterroot River [YouTube]
Following the drowning death of a Darby man in the Bitterroot River on Wednesday, Ravalli County Undersheriff Steve Holton is asking boaters and fishermen to use caution while in and on the river.
"We'd just like to remind everybody that it is spring," Holton said. "The Bitterroot River is dangerous enough already, but when the water comes up, the levels get higher and the current is much more swift. Certainly, the water is cold which can lead to hypothermia."
Holton also wants to warm boaters about the dangers lurking just below the surface of the river.
"With our drowning accident yesterday, I think that's going to be the cause of it was a submerged log that the boat struck," he said. "If anybody's on the river they need to be super aware of those obstructions you might not be able to see. In addition, every spring the Bitterroot River seems to change its channel a little bit, so there are more obstructions that we haven't encountered before."
Holton said it is also wise before hitting the river to let someone know where you're going and when you are expected to return home.
"It always helps our Search and Rescue so much to know where to start looking," he said.
The name of the 74 year-old drowning victim has not yet been released by the Ravalli County Coroner.