Irrigation Canals, Ponds, Claim Two Lives in Grant County 36 Hours Apart
Two people are dead in less than a 24-hour span in Grant County, both drownings involving irrigation canals and ponds.
First on Sunday, Joshua Griffen, A 44-year-old man described as a transient, was swimming with a friend in the large feeder canal in the 3000 block of Road 4 Northeast in Grant County. He was swept away by the fast-moving undertow and did not resurface. Despite valiant efforts from Grant County Fire District 5 and EMS workers who tried to revive him after his body was pulled from the water, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Then Monday night, a 10-year-old girl whom officials said was vacationing with her family from Issaquah was swimming in a 3-acre irrigation storage pond near George, WA near Silica Road NW when she slipped underwater and did not resurface.
Around 8:30 PM a number of Grant County Fire and EMS workers searched the area, including using an Airlift Helicopter, but she was not seen. Rescuers suspected she might have been pulled into an intake siphon that draws water for a waterfall and other uses at the site.
Fire and irrigation crew took apart the one-way flange opening to the siphon and indeed found the child inside. She was recovered around 10:45PM. In both cases, the Grant County Coroner is conducting tests to determine the official cause of death.
Both are being ruled as accidents. Authorities caution people to avoid swimming, even wading, in any waters connected to irrigation or storage use.
Confine the recreating to public areas at bodies of water where swimming and boating is available, and only swim in designated areas with a life vest.
These are the second and third drownings in Grant County this season, back in June an 18-year-old teen died in an irrigation canal near Ephrata.
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