Body of Missing Cliff Jumper Recovered in Lake Koocanusa

Johnathan Orr, 47, had last been seen on July 16 jumping from a cliff approximately 90 feet above the surface of the water

By Beacon Staff
Lake Koocanusa on June 16, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono

Authorities have recovered the body of a 47-year-old man missing since July 16 when witnesses observed him jumping off a cliff into Lake Koocanusa near Pinkham Creek, according to a press release issued Friday morning by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

At approximately 5 p.m. on July 19, deputies from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Can-Am Search and Rescue responded to a report that a body was spotted in the area of the search grid. Divers were able to recover the body, which was positively identified as Johnathan Orr, the release states.

“I would like to thank all who were involved in the search and recovery,” Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short stated in the brief update.

The sheriff’s office has provided scant details about the circumstances surrounding Orr’s death.

According to the department’s initial press release, deputies who responded to the area on the evening of Sunday, July 16, were told that Orr had been sitting near the water watching others jump off the cliff before he climbed to the top of the cliff and jumped from approximately 90 feet above the water.

A witness swam to the area where Orr impacted the water and searched for him but he did not resurface, according to the sheriff’s office.

Eurkea Area Dispatch was called about the incident at about 8:07 p.m., Sunday, and both Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Can-Am Search and Rescue (CASAR) were dispatched out to the scene.

CASAR brought out two boats and jet skis and searched the area unsuccessfully until dark, before the search resumed Monday morning with the assistance of divers and boats.

On July 18, canines form David Thompson Search and Rescue and CASAR continued to look for Orr, with additional help from divers with Flathead Search and Rescue, as well as a remote operated vehicle in an area indicated by canines.