Toppenish man dies after cliff jumping into Yakima River

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Rafters on the Yakima River near SR 821 (Courtesy of BLM)

YAKIMA, Wash. — A Toppenish man is presumed to have died by drowning after he jumped off a cliff and into the Yakima River.

Kittitas County deputies say Brian George, 53, went missing after jumping from the “smiley face” rock along State Route 821 between Ellensburg and Selah on Monday afternoon. Deputies say several people had been jumping off the cliff that day, and George was with two other people who had already jumped in right before him.

About 2 p.m., rescuers rushed to the scene with a swift water patrol boat and began searching for George. They ran into several rafting groups and told them they were looking for a missing person.

One of the rafters encountered their search found George in the river, called 911 and started CPR.

Deputies picked up George and took him to be treated by medics, but he did not survive.