Family safe after raft capsizes in Spokane River

Family safe after raft capsizes in Spokane River

SPOKANE, Wash. - Emergency crews confirm everyone is safe after a raft capsized, sending seven people into the water near the Bowl and Pitcher in Riverside State Park Monday afternoon.

Seven family members - two grandparents with five kids under the age of 12, including two six-year-olds - were aboard the raft when it capsized. The family says they started at the TJ Meenach Bridge and were halfway through their rafting trip when the 12 foot raft tipped, throwing them all into the Spokane River.

"We were all on the bridge and we saw them rafting," Witness Naomi Hale said. "We thought, that's cool and we were all waving at them as they went under."

Hale says her and her family watched as the raft zoomed underneath them.

"We saw it flip over and we were very scared for them," Hale said. "We were trying to figure out what we could do to help, but we were on the bridge so we called 911. We were just praying that they would all come out safe and we are really thankful they did."

Everyone in the raft had life jackets on and swam for shore.

Firefighters said the family is lucky to be alive and reminds people to stay safe if you plan to head out on the water.

"We've had people from our team get sucked down even with life vests on," Craig Cornelius with the Spokane Fire Department said. "We just want to make it very clear to anybody on the water that life vests are required."

Cornelius adds, they expect more water rescues like this as the weather warms up.