Due to the heavy current and hazardous conditions, witnesses were unable to reach the victims who were in the middle of the river a few miles below the Cle Elum Dam, The 4 Richland residents were visiting family and friends when they decided to float the top section of the river in a friends commercial raft. Shortly after they started, the raft was pushed into a sweeper and overturned by the heavy current. 49 year old David Nelson and his 14 year old son Brandon were able to climb up and onto a log, but his 15 year old daughter Lindsay went under a portion of the log jam and got hung up in the branches, her head just above the surface. The fourth member of the party, 53 year old L. Watts swam from the log he had climbed on, to help Mr. Nelson rescue Lindsay.
2 members of the Sheriff's Swiftwater Rescue Team were able to reach the party by jet boat. They were brought down river to emergency medical responders from Fire District 7 and Hospital District 1. No injuries were reported.