Clark County

Body of man who drowned at Paradise Point recovered

LA CENTER, Wash. (KOIN) -- Pat DiGeronimo had just finished kayaking in the East Fork Lewis River when he saw a man struggling to get back to land. He yelled at him to get back to the shore, but the man continued to struggle. 

That's when, at about 4:47 p.m., he put his kayak back into the water and jumped in. He rode out toward the man.

DiGeronimo reached out to the flailing man and put his paddle in the man's direction, hoping he'd grab ahold. But DiGeronimo said the man didn't see it.

"I just watched him drop to the bottom," DiGeronimo recalled. 

Shortly after, Clark County Fire and Rescue declared it a recovery mission. They searched for an hour but couldn't find the man Tuesday night. Search swimmers found 41-year-old Michael C. Keith's body around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Investigators are still trying to determine how Keith ended up in the water. His ID and wallet were later found inside a plastic bag in the water. He was fully clothed when he went under water, DiGeronimo said.

Clark County Fire and Rescue wanted to remind people how dangerous the river at Paradise Point State Park can be. 

"It doesn't matter where you are at the water in the pacific north west is very, very cold," said Clark County PIO Tim Dawdy. "It has that shocking effect when you get in the water, its not like swimming in a pool. No matter how strong of a swimmer you are its dangerous."


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