Man improves after nearly drowning at Whatcom Falls Park


BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man's condition has improved after he almost drowned this weekend in Whatcom Creek.

Gradon Lee "Grady" Barstad, 43, leaped from a 30-foot-tall boulder into a rocky part of the creek near Whirlpool Falls, a popular swimming hole in Whatcom Falls Park, around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 13.

Once he resurfaced seconds later, witnesses saw him floating facedown in the water, unconscious. Two swimmers helped bring Barstad to shore, and a nurse performed CPR until first-responders arrived.

Barstad regained consciousness before firefighters carried him to an ambulance in the parking lot.

He remained at St. Joseph hospital in satisfactory condition Monday, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Cloud.

The whirlpool swimming area has two signs to warn visitors of the dangers of jumping or diving into the water.

On Sunday the park was packed with people taking advantage of one of Bellingham's warmest days of the year so far.

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