Canoers rescue woman found unconscious in Yakima River

KITTITAS COUNTY NEWS RELEASE -- On 6/30/13 at 15:48 a KCSO deputy responded to the report of an unconscious female pulled from the Yakima River at Big Pines Campground in the Yakima Canyon.

Two citizens that were canoeing in the river downstream from Big Pines, Amy Thorpe, 52, and Patrick Gonseth, 23, both from Yakima, observed a female with no life jacket, Brandi Leingang, 27 from Yakima laying in the water, unconscious and unresponsive, hung up in some rocks. Her feet were pointing downstream and her head was being supported by river rocks keeping just her mouth and nose out of the water. They were able to get Leingang in their canoe, at which point she started showing signs of consciousness. After getting her in their canoe they had to paddle upstream for about 20 minutes against the strong current before they got back to the boat launch and could ask someone to call 911.

A Bureau of Land Management Ranger arrived on scene first and advised that the female was still conscious. A Deputy arrived on scene at the same time as KVFR medics, who took over patient care. The friends that had been floating with Leingang could not say how or when Leingang had fallen in the river due to their level of intoxication.

"Ms. Leingang is very fortunate. Had it not been for Thorpe and Gonseth and their quick thinking, Leingang most likely would have drown. Thorpe and Gonseth are both lifeguards and Thorpe is the coach of a Yakima area swim team. Too much alcohol and no life jackets on the water is a classic recipe for a tragedy," said Sheriff Gene Dana.