Vancouver man drowns at Lower Lewis River Falls

Lower Lewis River Falls (Courtesy: Skamania County Sheriff's Office)

SKAMANIA COUNTY, Wash. (KPTV) - A 25-year-old man drowned at Lower Lewis River Falls on Wednesday while he was visiting the area with friends, according to the Skamania County Sheriff's Office.

Just after 1:30 p.m., the sheriff's office received information about a hiker who had fallen or had been swept over the falls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, about 33 miles east of Cougar. The sheriff's office said the caller had to drive to find service and stated the incident happened about 28 minutes before to making the 911 call.

According to the sheriff's office, Benjamin K. Jones had been in the area with friends on what they called their "Waterfall Wednesday" hiking trip. Jones was last seen on a ledge, just west of the falls, when his friends lost sight of him.

Witnesses at the bottom of the falls saw Jones in the water yelling for help and attempted to reach him, however, the sheriff's office said he went under and did not resurface.

Deputies, along with North County EMS, Volcano Rescue Team and the Dive Rescue Unit, responded to the falls. The sheriff's office said divers located Jones' body in about 14 feet of water, just west of the main pool.

The sheriff's office said the tragic accident is a reminder to use established overlooks and stay on the trail when visiting Lower Lewis River Falls.

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