Woman who witnessed Father’s Day drowning says family tried everything possible to save 30 year old

Rena Bunting will never get the images out of her head.

“It was absolutely the most horrifying thing I have ever seen and for it to be on Father’s Day…” Bunting said.

She was jet skiing with her family near Fort Spokane Sunday when the decided to pull off near a designated swim area. She said a woman on a floating dock became hysterical.

“She was just yelling ‘My husband is in the water! My husband is in the water! My daughter is in there!'”

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said a 30 year old man was in the water with his 5 year old daughter when he went under.

“All of a sudden time froze, then it went into action,” Bunting said. Dozens of people rushed into the water and found the man’s body submerged.

“We all grabbed him and brought him up onto the sand and his family and his friends started CPR vigorously.”

They tried to call 911 but there was no cell service, according to Bunting.

“We literally waited 35-40 minutes fo anyone to reach us.”

The man was never revived but his young daughter was pulled to safety. Bunting said she was wearing a life jacket.

Second drowning in two days

Late Tuesday afternoon police and paramedics raced to the Centennial Hotel (the former Red Lion Hotel at the park) when guests reported a woman floating unconscious in the pool.

“At this time it’s looking like a tragic accident,” said Cpl. Teresa Fuller.

Spokane Valley Fire Station 8 Captain Craig Warzon and his team are experienced water rescuers. Warzon said it can be easy to overlook someone in distress because drowning does not look like what people see in the movies.

“If people are waving their arms and flailing about — they are not drowning,” Warzon said. “People that are actually drowning — they’re so tired all they’re doing is getting their face above the water, taking a gasp, then going back down.”

Young children are at a higher risk of drowning and safety experts recommend getting them into swimming lessons.

Catch up on the day’s news and look ahead to tomorrow by signing up for the Daily Local email newsletter from KXLY4. Headlines, events, and staff picks every weeknight at 8 p.m. Sign up HERE to get your news on the D.L.