Jet ski rider was stranded on the Columbia River for more than three hours

PASCO, Wash. — Agencies from across the Tri-Cities region scoured the Columbia River to save a recreationist who was believed to be stranded on a jet ski on the Columbia River on Sunday night.

Columbia River

Image credit: Benton County Fire District #1, Facebook

In a social media post, Benton County Fire District #1 announced that crews launched a water rescue near the railroad bridge on the Columbia River around 8:43 p.m. on July 24, 2022.

Initial reports indicated that a person on a jet ski had been missing for approx. three hours. They believed the vessel ran out of gas, leaving the rider drifting along the river. Crews from the Pasco Fire Department eventually found the victim and transported them to shore for a medical evaluation.

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No further details on this person’s condition were released, but they are expected to be okay. In addition to the two aforementioned groups, the following agencies were listed as active participants in the search: Walla Walla Fire District No.5 , Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Under Washington state law, a variety of items related to boater safety are required on vessels of all sizes—including jet skis. Benton County fire officials outlined the items in their post:

  • Life jackets— U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets, of the right size and type, for everyone on board
  • A sounding device—horn, whistle, or bell
  • A white navigation light—during low visibility such as fog, heavy rain, dawn, or dusk
  • Nighttime visual distress signal—such as flares (required on federal waterways only)


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