Canoeist Drowns In Fast-Moving Priest River

PRIEST RIVER — A man drowned on Saturday when he fell out of a canoe on a fast-moving stretch of the Priest River.

The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the death happened when the man was canoeing with his wife and family.  He fell out of the canoe and drowned in the area of McAbee Falls, located about nine miles north of Priest River.  His body was recovered later in the day.

The county installed signs on Sunday warning river users at the bridge above the falls, warning boaters about the drowning and that 10 people had been thrown from their kayaks, canoes and other small boats on the river in the past day.

The McAfee Falls stretch of the Priest River is considered a Class II rapids, but the Eight-Mile Rapids immediately downstream is Class III.  The river has been flowing high and fast over the past weeks due to heavy runoff from Priest Lake.