‘Just there to help’: Spokane mom warns about dangers of the Spokane River after her son was swept away

SPOKANE, Wash — Melody Wright is clutching the last gift her son ever gave her, a rainbow colored Peeps bunny. Authorities believe the 20-year-old was swept away Saturday, due to the strong currents of the Spokane River at Boulder Beach.

“I’m mad at the river for taking his life when he was trying to help but that river is ruthless,” Wright said.

Ukiah Wright was at Boulder Beach for a barbecue with his friends. He had no plans to go into the river, until a boy lost his ball.

“Nobody else stepped up to bat, and Ukiah always stepped up to bat and wanted to get the ball and got swept under the current,” she said.

Wright explained, her son knew the risks. He had saved someone from drowning just a month ago.

“But I know he knew, and I know that he knew how cold it was. He had just been in it about a month ago,” she said. “He was just there to help, not to do something stupid.”

Spokane Fire Chief, Brian Schaeffer warns the surface of the Spokane River is deceiving. On Tuesday, the water’s temperature is 59 degrees with currents much faster than this time of year.

“The volume of water that’s going through the river, creates currents, can actually create an undertow, if somebody should fall in, depending on where they are in the river,” he said. “And then there’s always the challenge of what else is under there.”

The river, Chief Schaeffer explained, can change someone’s life in seconds.

“Right now people should be very careful of walking next to the river and with their animals,” he said. “Make sure their animals are on a leash. Don’t let them recreate in the water, it’s just too dangerous.”

The Wright family and friends are hosting a GoFundMe for Ukiah’s memorial service.

To donate, click HERE.

*If you are considering a contribution to a GoFundMe account, please proceed at your own risk. KXLY.COM cannot assure that money deposited to an account will benefit the persons you desire to benefit.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:  Rescue crews unable to locate swimmer swept away by current near Boulder Beach

RELATED: Two people self-rescued from Spokane River after inflatable overturns