Boy who fell into Whatcom Creek remains on life support in Seattle hospital


BELLINGHAM - A 7-year-old boy who was underwater for two hours after falling into Whatcom Falls remained on life support at Seattle Children's hospital Wednesday, May 14.

The boy had been on a trip to the park Tuesday with his family and apparently was walking on the rocks at the top of the falls before he fell into the water and was pulled over the falls.

His family called 911 about 1:15 p.m. to report he had slipped and fallen into the creek near the stone bridge and hatchery, Bellingham Police spokesman Bob Vander Yacht said. The plunge was about 30 feet down the falls.

Rescuers spent two hours desperately trying to find the boy amid the pounding water and debris before spotting his body about 3 p.m. in a rocky area just below the falls. Police at the scene initially said the boy was dead.

Resuscitation efforts began after he was put into an ambulance, according to police.

Staff at St. Joseph hospital told medics to bring him in to try any life-saving measures that they could, Vander Yacht said. Because the boy had been in cold water, there was hope that he could be revived, even after the extensive time deprived of oxygen.

It's unclear what caused the change from rescuers on scene declaring the boy was dead to the hospital wanting to treat him. St. Joseph officials declined to discuss when and why hospital staff decided to treat the boy and wouldn't comment on the boy's treatment, citing medical privacy laws.

The boy was in critical condition when he was transferred to Seattle Children's at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. He was on life support and still hadn't regained consciousness Wednesday morning, Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel wrote in an email.

It's unclear what his prognosis is for recovery. His name wasn't released because the family asked for privacy, and updates on his condition were unavailable from the hospital.

Reach Zoe Fraley at or 360-756-2803. Read the Dispatcher Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

Bellingham Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service