The Yakama Nation Fisheries Enforcement, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement, Skamania County Sheriff's Office, and the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary are continuing search efforts for three tribal fishermen who went missing on the Columbia River last week when they failed to return from salmon fishing.
Yakama Nation officials have identified the missing fishermen, all Yakama Nation tribal members, as: Gailen Espirito, James Peter, Jr., and Rommel Strom.
A fishing boat along with personal effects was recovered mid-day Wednesday near Home Valley State Park, seven miles east of Stevenson. Family members, tribal spiritual leaders and volunteers are keeping a vigil at the park.
Search efforts are focusing on both Oregon and Washington shorelines as well as surface water searches ranging from river mile 153 (2 miles east of the mouth of the Wind River) downstream to Bonneville Dam.
Dive searches by the Skamania County Sheriff's Office and aerial searches by the U.S. Coast Guard have been suspended.
Wind and rough water conditions have hampered search efforts. Dive and aircraft resources will be deployed as circumstances warrant.
Anyone with information of the missing fishermen is asked to call the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement at 1-800-487-3474 or the Skamania County Sheriff's Office at 427-9490.
The Skamania County Sheriff's Office received a call at 9:30 a.m. on May 7, 2008, of an overdue Tribal fisherman who was fishing the night before on the Columbia River near the mouth of the Wind River.
Vessels and personnel from Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement, Yakama Tribal Police, Skamania County Sheriff's Office, Washington State Patrol, and the Skamania County Sheriff's Office Dive Team responded to an area just east of the mouth of the Wind River on the Columbia where a capsized vessel was discovered.
The vessel was recovered with the assistance of the tug "Mt. Hood," owned by SD&S Lumber Company in Bingen late in the afternoon.
The banks along both the north and south shore of the Columbia were searched from the air by a Jayhawk Coastguard helicopter out of Air Station Astoria.
A Toppenish man suffered injuries when he was involved in a two-vehicle accident on State Route 14 at milepost 100, 10 miles south of Goldendale. The accident occurred on May 9, 2008, at approximately 6:15 a.m.
According to the report, Jordan Riggan, 19, Soap Lake, was driving his 1991 Chevrolet Blazer westbound on SR 14. He stopped his vehicle in the roadway to make a U-turn. His vehicle was struck in the driver's side door by a 2005 Freightliner semi truck driven by Edgar E. Chavez, 32, Toppenish. Chavez was also traveling westbound.
Riggan did not suffer any injuries. Chavez had possible lower back injury and was taken to Klickitat Valley Hospital in Goldendale.
Riggan was charged with unsafe stop in roadway and Chavez was cited for following too close.