Clark Fork River

FLATHEAD RIVER, Mont. - Flathead County Sheriff's Office has released the identity of the man who died in last week's rafting accident. 

On June 21, a raft overturned at the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, in the rapids just below Moccasin Creek. Three people were inside, and 43-year-old John Fitch of Kalispell sadly lost his life. 

FCSO confirmed he was wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.

"Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Mr. Fitch," FCSO shared.

Last Updated: June 28 at 4:30 p.m.

A warning to recreationists tonight after raft carrying three people overturned on the middle fork of the Flathead River yesterday afternoon, leaving one 43-year-old man dead. 

Flathead County Sheriff's Office says it happened in the rapids just below Moccasin Creek, where water is currently moving faster than normal. 

Once flooding comes into play, higher than normal river levels become one of the most dangerous times to recreate, no matter where you are. 

Undersheriff Wayne Dubois says this is one of the biggest issues they're facing right now is very few understanding the risk factors that come with the higher debris coming from those cold, rising river levels, especially in the Flathead River. 

"There is a lot of things that can happen that can lead to somebody not being able to get to shore, swim to shore if they get snagged on large heavy debris that's rolling in the water underneath even if you have a life vest, it may not help,” said Dubois.  

Undersheriff Dubois says these dangers are due in large part to the current flood conditions which they will continue to monitor and alert the public of any additional safety measures that may arise.  

 Until water safety risks are clear, you're strongly encouraged to avoid the rivers at this time as they hope to see these conditions improve over the next few days. 


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