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Seabeck teen dies trying to cross creek

Fire crews gauge the waters of Big Beef Creek, in a ravine south of Lake Symington, as they formulate a plan to conduct a technical rescue of a hiker lost to the turbulent waters. - KCSO
Fire crews gauge the waters of Big Beef Creek, in a ravine south of Lake Symington, as they formulate a plan to conduct a technical rescue of a hiker lost to the turbulent waters.
— image credit: KCSO

SILVERDALE – A hike among four friends turned tragic Feb. 15 when one of the young men fell into the raging waters of Big Beef Creek and drowned.

The Kitsap County Coroner's Office confirmed the identity of the victim as Lucas Earl Weaver, 18, of Seabeck.

The initial report of the incident was dispatched just before noon. Witnesses said Weaver slipped on partially submerged rocks while attempting to cross Big Beef Creek, downstream more than a mile and a half from the spillway that empties water from Lake William Symington into Big Beef Creek in Central Kitsap.

Lake Symington is approximately five miles southwest of Silverdale, close to the community of Seabeck.

Weaver's friends attempted to save him by grabbing ahold of his backpack, which subsequently slipped off. Big Beef Creek was a torrent of deep storm water from the lake and from smaller draining streams. Weaver was swept downstream to a waterfall where he became trapped.

Despite efforts to keep him above water, the fishing waders that Weaver was wearing quickly filled and acted like an anchor that pulled him under, according to the sheriff's office.

A sheriff's detective happened to be in the area and was at the spillway within two minutes of the initial dispatch. The detective directed emergency responders to the area. Among those responding was Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue, Bainbridge Island Fire Department, Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services, and Mason County Fire District 2.

Sparse cell-phone reception, steep and muddy terrain, and details of exact position hampered and delayed the response effort, according to the sheriff's office.

Once Weaver's location was determined, a search effort was started by patrol deputies. Deputies inched their way along roiling waters at the bottom of the creek ravine, hampered by thick brush and mucky footing, according to the sheriff's office. Weaver was found in the water within 45 minutes following the initial emergency dispatch.

Fire emergency vehicles could not gain access to the creek. All equipment was carried in and out by rescuers. Weaver's body was recovered by fire rescue crews at approximately 2:15 p.m. and was brought with them on the return climb out of the ravine.

An autopsy will be performed by the county's forensic pathologist. The Kitsap County Coroner will make a determination as to the cause and manner of death.

 

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