Three teenage girls survived a tubing accident when they went over a diversion dam and slammed into a large rock in the Methow River near the state fish hatchery on Wolf Creek Road on Monday (June 21).
A 16-year-old girl was transported to Mid-Valley Hospital in Omak with non-life-threatening injuries, Aero Methow Rescue Service Director of Services Cindy Button said. The girl had a possible leg fracture, said Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow, who was first to respond to the scene, which was reported around 10:45 a.m.
The three girls, all visiting the area from western Washington, were navigating the river on ordinary inner tubes, the type typically used for a lazy float in August when the river is low. “The river was running hard,” Budrow said.
When Budrow got there, all three girls had already gotten out of the river and onto the shore. The girl with the possible fracture was at the water’s edge and in too much pain to move. One friend stayed with her while the third girl went to a nearby residence to call for help.
The three tubes were tied together when the first girl rammed into the rock, puncturing her inner tube. One of the girls got stuck under a log and received scratches and abrasions on her chest before she extricated herself. “She was lucky – she was under water for a while,” Budrow said.
The three were extremely fortunate that there were no head injuries and that they were able to get out of the water quickly, over “monster boulders” near where they hit the rock, Budrow said.
None of the girls was wearing a life jacket and they were all in bikinis, despite the frigid water, Budrow said.
“To see those three girls survive without life jackets” – and not go into shock in the cold water and be unable to move – was incredibly fortunate, Budrow said.
It appeared that the girls were in the Methow on their own, because first responders reached their parents at home on the west side, Budrow said.
All three tubes were swept away by the river current.
The Soaring in the Methow glider event resulted in two accidents on Sunday (June 20).
The pilot of a glider plane was injured after he landed his glider in a field at a dispersed campsite near Eightmile on the West Chewuch. The glider didn’t come to a stop soon enough and “the pilot ran out of field and hit a tree,” Button said. The pilot was transported to Mid-Valley Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
A tow plane that was part of the event suffered mechanical problems as it was returning to the airport after launching a glider. The equipment that controls up-and-down and side-to-side movement malfunctioned and the pilot made a very rough landing at the airport, where he sustained very minor injuries, Button said.
Soaring in the Methow continues through Sunday (June 27), using both the Methow Valley State Airport and the Twisp Airport.