1 person dead in Smith River incident

Posted at 5:07 PM, May 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-21 19:07:38-04

GREAT FALLS – Search crews have recovered a body after emergency officials responded to a report of two floaters who may have capsized in the Smith River Monday.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, and the name of the person who died has not yet been released. 

Crews were called out around 1 p.m. Monday to an area near the Eden Bridge south of Great Falls and southeast of Ulm. 

Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards released the following information at 5:20 p.m.

The initial investigation is showing that 3 males (identities unknown at this point) were on the Smith River with 2 boats.  It is reported that the 2-man boat rounded a corner on the river and struck a large rock which caused the boat to capsize.  One male was able to make it to shore and is in good condition. Unfortunately, the other occupant of the boat was not able to make it out of the river and has died.   

Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office, Search and Rescue, and Ulm Fire were able to recover the victim. The Smith River was running high and fast at the time of the incident. Responding Agencies Include: Sheriff’s Office, Ulm Fire, Ulm QRU, Fish and Game Officers, Cascade County Search and Rescue, and Mercy Flight.

Eden Bridge is the only take-out point following a nearly 60-mile stretch of the Smith River that flows through a remote canyon.

That section of the the river is only open to permitted floaters and guides. Permits are awarded annually via a lottery drawing conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

We will update you as we get more information.