Ravalli County Sheriff/Coroner Chris Hoffman says that a three-year-old Stevensville boy drowned in the Bitterroot River on Friday afternoon. Hoffman said that Tristan Iverson, his father, and his six-year-old brother were floating the river in an inflatable raft when the accident occurred, just north of Bell Crossing fishing access between Victor and Stevensville.
The father told sheriff’s deputies that they had come to a fork in the river, and he attempted but was unable to paddle to shore to avoid a log jam. The raft hit a log and flipped, ejecting all three occupants into the water and under the jam. The father and the six-year-old surfaced downstream of the log jam, but the three-year-old became trapped underneath. The boy’s father searched for several minutes before finding him and extricating him from the hazard. The father began CPR and was able to attract the attention of a person working in an adjacent field.
The incident was called into the Ravalli County 911 Center, and Emergency Medical Services from Hamilton, Victor and Stevensville responded to Bell Crossing, along with Sheriff’s Deputies. The boy was transported to Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, and efforts to save his life continued late into the night; however, he was pronounced dead early Saturday morning.
The accident remains under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.