Aug 2, 2015

Montana teen drowns after river floating accident in the Crandall area

A Montana teen drowned Saturday evening while floating on the Clark’s Fork of the Yellowstone River in the Crandall area.

Jonah Anspach, a 13-year-old from Jefferson City, Montana, had been riding a small, inflatable pool ring as part of a group of family and friends, the Park County Sheriff's Office said in a Sunday news release. Near a section of rapids, Anspach's ring overturned; he disappeared beneath the surface of the Clark's Fork and wasn't seen again, the release said.

The floating accident occurred about a mile up river from the Hunter Peak Campground. File photo courtesy Shoshone National Forest
Anspach's brother was also riding an inflatable ring and also flipped over in the rapids, but he was able to make it to shore, the sheriff's office said.

The two brothers, who were not wearing life jackets, had been in an area approximately one mile upriver from the Hunter Peak Campground and just below the junction of Muddy Creek. They were in a section of the river known to local kayakers as “Day Stretch” and overturned near rapids known as “The Jet,” the sheriff's office said. Their family had been vacationing in the Crandall area.

A passerby on Wyo. Highway 296 called 911 shortly before 7 p.m.

Members of the Park County Search and Rescue Unit immediately responded, searching the area until darkness fell. Members of the team stayed at the river through the night, stationed at various points. The search resumed Sunday morning with the aid of several local kayakers who know the area.

They found Anspach's body in the river mid-Sunday morning and recovered it a couple hours later.

In the release from the sheriff's office, members of the Search and Rescue team praised the kayakers who aided the search, saying their knowledge of the area proved invaluable in recovering the victim.

It was a hectic day for Park County's Search and Rescue team. Just 40 minutes after the floating accident was called in, a woman called 911 to report she'd become stuck on a ledge on the South Fork. Around 4 a.m., they were able to help her to safety.


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