The body of a 72-year-old Cosmopolis man was found on Saturday, Jan. 8, about a day after the vehicle he was attempting to move got swept away by fast-rising floodwaters near his home, authorities said.
Delbert Pratt was located inside his submerged vehicle approximately 100 yards west of his driveway about 9 a.m. Saturday by Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office and Grays Harbor County Fire Protection District 15 personnel. The vehicle was later removed from the water by a tow truck.
“Investigators believe the vehicle was swept off the driveway by strong moving floodwaters and quickly submerged into deep water,” said Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Brad Johansson in a statement. “The family members of Mr. Pratt have been notified of this tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Mr. Pratt.”
Pratt was reported missing about 5:46 a.m. Friday, Jan. 7, from the 700 block of North River Road in Cosmopolis a short while after he went outside his residence to move his vehicle to higher ground.
“When he did not return his wife called 911,” said Johansson in a statement. “Law enforcement was unable to reach the location due to flooding on North River Road. North River Road was flooded before and after Mr. Pratt’s residence.”
District 15 firefighters, who live in the area, and family members checked the area but were unable to locate Pratt on Friday. Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office and Pacific County Sheriff’s Office personnel and their drone also responded to the scene later Friday to search the area, but were unable to locate Pratt or his vehicle.
His death was the first attributed to flooding that wreaked havoc last week in Grays Harbor County. Floodwaters were propelled by record rainfall in the area, as well as snowmelt and high tides.
Hoquiam received 5.78 inches of rain on Thursday, Jan. 6, the National Weather Service in Seattle said. That total marked the wettest day on record for Hoquiam. Aberdeen received a similar amount of rain, National Weather Service data showed.