Glacier Park

Two Visitors Drown Saturday in Glacier Park

In unrelated incidents, two vacationers — a 26-year-old man from India and a 28-year-old man from Nepal — died in the Lake McDonald area; one victim’s body still has not been recovered from Avalanche Creek

By Beacon Staff
Water pours over rocks along Avalanche Creek. Beacon file photo

Two visitors drowned in separate incidents in Glacier National Park on Saturday. Divers recovered one victim’s body from Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground Saturday evening while the other victim, who was swept into the Avalanche Creek gorge, is still missing and presumed dead, according to a Sunday afternoon news release from park officials.

At around 8:30 a.m. on July 6, a 26-year-old man from India was hiking on the trail to Avalanche Lake near the gorge when he fell into Avalanche Creek. Friends and witnesses told rangers they saw him fall into the creek, go underwater and resurface briefly before the current swept him into the gorge.

Glacier National Park dispatch was alerted at 8:37 a.m., according to the park’s news release. Park campground staff were on the scene almost immediately, followed by law enforcement rangers at about 9 a.m.

“ALERT helicopter conducted aerial searches of the creek and more than 10 rangers scoured the area, but the person has not yet been found and is presumed dead,” the release states. “Rangers believe the body is caught underwater in the gorge. Due to poor visibility and hazardous conditions, ongoing search efforts will be scaled down as rangers continue to monitor the area. Avalanche Creek is at high water level due to snow melt runoff and the gorge is extremely dangerous, making conditions impossible for rangers to enter the gorge.”

The victim, who was living and working in California, was on vacation with friends.

On Saturday evening, a 28-year-old man from Nepal was swimming with friends in Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground. According to friends, he was an inexperienced swimmer. He was about 30 yards out when he started to struggle, went underwater and never resurfaced, the release states.

Dispatch received a call at about 6:25 p.m. and rangers were on the scene by about 6:50 p.m., according to the release. ALERT helicopter and Three Rivers ambulance responded but stood down when park rangers were able to determine the location of the body, approximately 30 yards offshore and between 35 and 40 feet underwater. The Flathead County Sheriff’s dive team responded and recovered the body at about 8:20 p.m.

The Nepali man was living and working in Portland, Ore., and was also on vacation with friends.

The identities of the victims have not yet been released. Park officials have contacted both the Nepal and India consulates for assistance in contacting next of kin.

The deaths mark the second and third drownings in Glacier this summer. On June 23, a 26-year-old Pennsylvania woman, Gillian Tones, slipped on wet rocks and fell into Virginia Creek.

In May 2023, a 28-year-old University of Kansas student drowned in Avalanche Creek after she fell off a rocky overhang and was swept into the gorge.

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