The two men – one in his 70s, the other in his 80s were having no luck at all. Their boat ran out of gas, the trolling motor battery died and there was no cellphone service at the lake where they went fishing for the day.
The two men walked along several miles of shoreline while pulling the boat, but they eventually became too exhausted and built a campfire to cook the day’s catch, expecting to be there until sunrise.
Their families had placed calls into the Sheriff’s Offices concerned for heir welfare and Deputies responded. Finding their truck parked along with the boat trailer without the boat it was decided to expand the search using a helicopter from a neighboring County to cover more territory as quickly as possible.
An Official news release was as follows:
Two Spokane men had to spend the night on Rock Lake in Whitman County after their boat ran out of gas. The Whitman County Sheriff’s Office got a call early Friday morning from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office about two overdue boaters. Spokane authorities had checked the lakes in the South part of their county but hadn’t located anything so they asked Whitman County Deputies to check Rock Lake. That’s where the missing boaters’ truck and empty trailer were found. The Spokane County sheriff’s office helicopter responded to Rock Lake and found the missing boaters and their disabled boat on the Eastern shore. Whitman County Deputies responded with the sheriff’s office boat and rescued the men and towed their vessel back to shore. The men started a fire to keep warm overnight and ate some fish.
A video of the event was posted on Youtube by the Spokane County Sheriff with the following description of events:
Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Helicopter Air 1 helped locate two fishermen reported as missing on June 2, 2016 at 11:50 p.m. They were reported by family as overdue by several hours and were unable to be contacted. Several lakes in southwest Spokane County, and northwest Whitman County were searched, with the missing persons’ truck and empty boat trailer found at the Rock Lake boat launch.
Sergeant Travis Hansen & Deputy Nathan Booth worked with Whitman County Sheriff’s Office personnel in searching the large Rock Lake area. Air 1, with Pilot Jason Snyder, Corporal Nate Bohanek, & Kootenai County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Fanciullo aboard, launched from Felts Field to assist in the search of the lake’s extensive shoreline.
Several miles from the boat launch, deputies on scene observed a small light in the distance and Whitman County dispatched a SAR boat. AIR1 arrived on scene, located a campfire, boat, and two persons on the shoreline. They directed the Whitman County SAR boat to the location where the two stranded men, 55 & 67, were rescued.
They learned the men had run out of gas and their trolling motor battery died. There was no cell service at the lake to make a call for help. They tried walking their boat down the shoreline a few miles before becoming exhausted and building a campfire on the shore to stay warm and cook fish they caught until sunrise.
This video is made of clips from Air 1’s FLIR video of the search and rescue of the stranded boaters.