Teen in Tubing Accident Dies

By Beacon Staff

KALISPELL (AP) – A 14-year-old boy who nearly drowned in a tubing accident on the Stillwater River died early Saturday, hospital officials said.

Andy Irvine, the son of Kalispell Fire Department chaplain Hal Irvine, had been in critical condition at Kalispell Regional Medical Center since Thursday’s accident. He spent 11 to 15 minutes underwater before rescuers could free him.

Irvine and two friends, Sam Kuhlin and Eric Brinton, were tubing on the river near Evergreen when Irvine’s inner tube flipped and he was pulled under a submerged log.

His life jacket became tangled in the log’s branches, holding him under the surface.

Kuhlin told police he tried to keep his friend’s head above water, but that Irvine soon lost consciousness.

Brinton ran to a nearby construction site for help, and one of the workers soon called 911. Irvine was unresponsive when rescuers cut the straps of his life jacket and pulled him from the water.

Kuhlin and Brinton told police they had floated the river before, but that it was Irvine’s first time.