NESPELEM Authorities continue to search the Columbia River southeast of town for a man who is presumed drowned after his fishing boat was swamped and was carried downstream.
Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said his office was called around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday to assist Colville Tribal Police in searching for Sedro Woolley resident Kenneth J. Leslie, 46.
Tribal police were notified earlier of the incident, which happed around 6:30 a.m. on a remote stretch of the river near the Timm Ranch boat launch.
Both agencies put boats into the water. Chief Criminal Deputy Dave Rodriguez, who is also a diver for the Sheriff’s Office, also responded.
Leslie and Colleen L. Gillogly, 44, also of Sedro Wooley, had loaded their small fishng boat with gear and equipment, themselves and two small dogs. They attempted to cross the runoff-swollen Columbia River, but their boat was swamped and overturned, Rogers said.
“Gillogly had on a life vest and was trying to the pull the boat along while she was swimming,” Rogers said.
Leslie, who could not swim and was not wearing a life vest, was hanging onto the boat, Rogers said. He apparently told Gillogly to let go of the boat and swim to shore, which she did.
The boat then sank and Leslie went under the water and did not surface, Rogers said.
Searchers located the boat and items from the boat approximately five miles downstream late in the morning. As of Wednesday evening, they had not located Leslie.
Tribal police and the Sheriff’s Office will continue the search, Rogers said.
One of the dogs, a Chihuahua, drowned. The other dog made it to shore with Gillogly.
Rodriguez is heading up the investigation for the Sheriff’s Office.