GH Newspaper Group
The man who was swept to his death in Canyon River while hunting Friday morning has been identified as Steven Davis, 61, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. “An autopsy was conducted (Monday) morning, and the cause of death was due to drowning,” reported Grays Harbor Coroner Lane Youmans.
The man was reportedly was with a party of hunters attempting to cross the river with a zip line. Some members had made it across; the California man did not.
“I’m being told it was a ¾-inch zip line, one with a chair you sit in and then pull yourself along,” said Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate. “One individual was successful and was helping pull the others across with a rope that was attached to the chair.” The victim reportedly slipped out of the chair and into the river.
On Monday, Shumate said he had received reports that the area is owned by Green Diamond Resource Company, which prohibits zip lines.
Patti Case, public affairs manager for Green Diamond Resource Company, confirmed that zip lines are prohibited.
“It is private property. And just as I would not allow somebody to build a zip line on my property without permission, that is not allowed on our property either,” Case said. “We will be removing that zip line, and we do remove other unauthorized structures on our land as well when we run across them.”
“This was a very tragic accident, and this is exactly why we do not allow such structures to be built on our property,” Case added.
Deputies, Fish & Wildlife officers and aid personnel responded to a call at 9:40 a.m. to an area about a mile and a half up Kelly Road from Boundary Road in Montesano, about 15 miles north of Brady. Deputies also responded with a department vessel and were able to launch in the general incident area; however the river was so swollen with recent heavy rainfall it was unable to search beyond the launch area. Fish & Wildlife sent an aircraft to the scene, but weather conditions proved too bad for an air search.
Shumate told The Daily World a body had been found face down in the river just downstream of the accident site about 3:40 p.m. The steep, brushy terrain and high river conditions made it too dangerous to immediately retrieve the body, but officers eventually were able to pull the man from the water Saturday morning.
Two mountain rescue teams, Olympic and Tacoma Mountain Rescue, were briefed and “deployed at 8:15 a.m (Saturday). They reached the deceased hunter and started back toward the command post,” said Shumate. “Due to the very steep terrain, the rescue teams utilized a heavy duty Stokes-type litter (a metal wire or plastic litter similar to those used in helicopter rescues that can be disassembled for transport in backpacks or by pack horses). They reached a nearby roadway by 11 a.m. and the body was released to the coroner.”