Swimmer pulled from waters of Whatcom Falls Park


BELLINGHAM - A swimmer who jumped off a waterfall at Whatcom Falls Park and became trapped in the waters below was rushed to St. Joseph hospital about 8:45 p.m. Monday, May 6.

The condition of the swimmer was not immediately available, but he was unconscious and not breathing when he was pulled from the water. Initial reports described the victim as a teen boy.

The person had been swimming with others in Whatcom Creek when he jumped off the lower of two falls not far from the playground area, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon.

When he didn't surface, a city parks employee who happened to be in the area went into the water to try to rescue the swimmer, Scanlon said.

A Bellingham police officer also got in the water to keep track of the parks employee because the water was swift in that area, Scanlon said.

They were unable to get the swimmer fully out of the fast-moving water until Bellingham firefighters arrived to help. Once they pulled him out, they began CPR in an effort to revive him.

It is believed he was trapped under water for several minutes.

Many swimmers were at the park Monday escaping temperatures that reached nearly 80 degrees. The accident happened just before dark.

Sections of the park are popular for swimming and jumping into the water. Signs warning people of the dangers of leaping into the water frequently are torn down. A few years ago a teenage girl who was climbing back up after jumping in the water slipped and fell onto rocks. The accident left her paralyzed from her lower back down.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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