Glacier Park

Woman Who Drowned Near St. Mary Falls in Glacier Park Identified

26-year-old Gillian Tones of Pennsylvania slipped on wet rocks and fell into Virginia Creek

By Beacon Staff
Glacier National Park sign at St. Mary on March 18, 2021. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The woman who drowned near St. Mary Falls on the east side of Glacier National Park Sunday has been identified as 26-year-old Gillian Tones from North Apollo, Pa., according to a press release from the National Park Service

Authorities also clarified the circumstances surrounding the weekend drowning. While it was first reported that Tones went into the water above St. Mary Falls, witnesses later clarified that she slipped on wet, slick rocks and fell into Virginia Creek between St. Mary and Virginia Falls, about 200 yards above the trail bridge. Tones was quickly swept up by the cold, fast moving water and went over a series of smaller waterfalls, then was pinned underwater by a log for several minutes until heroic efforts by other park visitors led to pulling her from the river, according to the Park Service.

Park dispatch received multiple 911 calls routed through Glacier County dispatch at approximately 5:20 p.m. Park rangers were on the scene by approximately 5:45 p.m. and ALERT helicopter landed nearby at about 6:20 p.m.

Despite resuscitation efforts by bystanders, park rangers, ambulance personnel and ALERT helicopter medics, Tones never regained consciousness and was pronounced deceased by ALERT personnel at about 7 p.m. on June 23.

In the press release, park staff thanked Glacier County, ALERT, Babb Ambulance and U.S. Border Patrol for their support, along with numerous bystanders for their immediate assistance. “The park extends their deepest condolences to family and friends of Tones and asks that the public respect their privacy.”