Divers recover body from Yale Reservoir

Vancouver man drowned at Beaver Bay

By Craig Brown, Columbian metro editor


Updated: August 24, 2014, 3:12 PM


Divers today recovered the body of a Vancouver man who apparently drowned Saturday in Yale Reservoir, near Beaver Bay Campground.

Stephen W. Rilea, 22, was located just before noon, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, which led the search.

Rilea was seen swimming about 11:30 Saturday morning about 50 feet from shore when he went under the water and did not resurface.

Kayakers nearby began looking for him as other witnesses called rescuers, but he was not located.

Later in the day, teams of divers made two dives looking for Rilea's body but were unable to locate him.

Today, the Skamania County Sheriff's Office sent six divers and a boat; the Clark County Sheriff's Office sent two boats and Cowlitz County sent one boat and two divers.

Rilea is the second person to drown in Yale Reservoir this summer. On July 6, Austin H. Wolford, 19, of Vancouver, drowned in the reservoir while swimming with friends. On Aug. 11, a 2-year-old boy drowned in Siouxon Creek, a tributary of Yale Reservoir.

Beaver Bay Campground is on Yale Reservoir, the middle of three reservoirs created from dams on the North Fork of the Lewis River. It is about 34 miles east of Woodland along the Lewis River Highway. PacifiCorp operates Merwin, Yale and Swift dams.