Idaho boy drowns while trying to save his older brother


SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) – An 11-year-old Idaho boy drowned while trying to save his older brother in an Idaho river, officials say.

The boys were swimming in the Pend Oreille River with their mother on Tuesday when the 17-year-old began to struggle and panic, the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies say the mother jumped in to help her eldest son but was going under herself because of his struggles. The younger boy tried to rescue his brother after their mother went back to shore to call for help, they said.

Other people in the area heard the mother’s cries for help, and they were able to find the 17-year-old, bring him to shore and begin CPR.

While the resuscitation efforts on the teen were underway, members of the Bonner County Dive Team found the 11-year-old’s body in six to seven feet of water. Life-saving efforts were immediately started, but the youth wasn’t breathing and died at the scene, the sheriff’s office said.

The older brother was hospitalized in critical condition.

Officials say both boys were inexperienced swimmers. They started out wearing life vests, but they took them off believing the water was shallow. The sheriff’s office says the boys were unaware of the current in the river.

Rescuing a drowning person can be dangerous, particularly for people who aren’t trained in water rescues, because active drowning victims instinctively push down on anything around them in an attempt to get air, experts say. That can cause would-be rescuers to drown.

Some organizations including the Red Cross and the U.S. Army suggest that people stay out of the water when they see a swimmer in distress, and instead try to reach them with a hand, stick or other object from dry land. If that doesn’t work, a rope, life-jacket or a floatation device may be thrown to the person if possible and the rescuer can call for help.


Information from: KBOI-TV,