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Columbia Falls man dies in water accident at Glacier NP

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Posted at 3:26 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 17:40:40-04

WEST GLACIER — A man died over the weekend while on the Flathead River in Glacier National Park.

Park rangers responded to a report of CPR in progress near Glacier Rim on the North Fork of the Flathead River shortly before 5:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Ronald Newton, 62, of Columbia Falls, flipped his fishing pontoon boat while floating the river with a group band became submerged in the water, according to a news release.

More than an hour of CPR was performed before Newton was declared deceased. The exact cause of his death remains under investigation.

According to Glacier National Park spokeswoman Gina Kerzman, witness reports state the group was floating the river Saturday when two pontoon boats tied together became stuck on a rock.

Newton attempted to free the boats when his own watercraft flipped, and he submerged in the water.

A friend pulled Newton from the water and several bystanders initiated CPR on a nearby gravel bar. Reports indicate he was not wearing a personal flotation device or a helmet at the time of the incident.

North Valley Search and Rescue, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Blankenship Rural Fire District, and A.L.E.R.T. all responded to the scene.