By Dee Camp
Three people were rescued from Lake Roosevelt the afternoon of May 27 after their jet boat sank in mid-channel.
Margaret Goodrow, chief ranger for the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, said the 15-foot jet ski boat was zooming along about 50 mph near Hansen Harbor when the motor failed. The boat sank within 60 seconds.
The boat's occupants "scrambled to get their life jackets on," she said. All three were able to get their jackets on before the boat went down, she added.
None of the boaters was identified, pending completion of a National Park Service investigation of the accident, said Goodrow. The boat's owner is from Ephrata.
Campers on the Colville Indian Reservation side of the lake - the backed-up Columbia River pool behind Grand Coulee Dam - rescued the boaters and called 911, she said.
National Park Service and Colville Tribal Police responded, though the tribal police response was canceled before any units arrived, said tribal police commander Mike Kessler.
The boat went down in about 200 feet of water.
Goodrow stressed the importance of having U.S. Coast Guard-approved flotation devices on board and handy, and for people to wear them when boating. She said she's seen accidents in which people either didn't have them or had them packed away and inaccessible.
"They were very lucky folks," she said of the Lake Roosevelt trio, noting there were people close by who saw the boat go down and were able to reach the boaters.