A Vancouver man died Wednesday after he was swept over the Lower Lewis River Falls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, 33 miles east of Cougar.
The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office identified the man as 25-year-old Benjamin K. Jones.
The sheriff’s office was called at 1:36 p.m. for a hiker who had fallen or been swept over the falls. The caller had to drive to find cell service and said the incident occurred 28 minutes prior, according to a news release.
Jones was in the area with friends on what they called their “Waterfall Wednesday” hiking trip. He was last seen on a ledge, west of the falls, when his friends lost sight of him. Witnesses at the bottom of the falls said they saw Jones in the water yelling for help. They tried to reach him, but he went under the water and didn’t resurface, the news release states.
A search and rescue deputy responded, along with North Country EMS, Volcano Rescue Team and the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office Dive-Rescue Unit. Divers found Jones in 14 feet of water, west of the main pool. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the news release.
“This tragic accident is a reminder to use established overlooks and stay on trail when visiting the falls,” the sheriff’s office said.