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Man drowns at Corbin Park

| June 24, 2010 6:24 AM

POST FALLS — A Kootenai County man drowned at Corbin Park on the Spokane River this morning while canoeing with a friend before work.

Both the victim and his male friend are in their 20s, said Major Ben Wolfinger of the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

Names are being withheld until later today after next of kin is notified.

The two launched a canoe at the east end of the park at about 4:45 a.m. and it tipped soon after launching, Wolfinger said.

One man made it to shore while the other was swept downstream in a swift current.

The survivor lost sight of his friend and he went to Pleasant View Road downstream where one of their vehicles was parked, but the victim couldn't be found, Wolfinger said.

The survivor called 911 at 5:50 a.m.

A MedStar helicopter was called to the scene and spotted the body at about 6:50 a.m. in about 4 feet of water about a mile downstream from the park.

Wolfinger said the two had personal flotation devices in the canoe, but neither was wearing one.

The gates of the Post Falls Dam upstream are open due to recent heavy rain, making the river swift. The temperature of the river is between 45 and 50 degrees.

"There's a lot of undercurrents with the dam open and the river is still real cold," Wolfinger said, adding that river users are urged to use extreme caution. - Brian Walker

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