An 18-year-old boy from the state of Washington died Monday after attempting to cross Big Beef Creek.
Lucas Earl Weaver was enjoying a hike with three friends when they came upon the creek. While attempting to get to the other side, Weaver slipped on partially submerged rocks. His friends grabbed onto his backpack in an attempt to rescue him but his pack slipped off.
According to Q13 Fox, Weaver was taken downstream by raging waters and eventually became trapped in a waterfall. The strong current was the result of deep stormwater from the lake and subsequent creeks, which when combined created a torrent that caught Weaver and wouldn’t let go.
Local officials stated Weaver’s fishing waders were partially responsible as they quickly filled with water and weighed Weaver down, pulling him under the water.
The Seattle Times reported that when the friends called for emergency help, a sheriff’s detective was already in the area and was able to get to the spillway within minutes of the call. However, limited cellphone reception, steep and muddy terrain and confusion over location were all factors that hampered response efforts.
In an attempt to reduce the probability of such accidents, experts urge hikers to wear proper footwear while trekking and in case of such an emergency, to always be aware of exact location. It is also recommended that hikers don’t travel more than six to 12 miles per day, citing exhaustion and lack of proper knowledge as common perpetrators of hiking accidents.
Weaver’s body was recovered almost an hour after the initial dispatch of emergency personnel. The coroner’s office will perform an autopsy, and local law enforcement officials plan to conduct a full investigation into the incident.