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Glacier National Park drowning victims identified


Officials identified the two individuals who drowned in Glacier National Park on July 6 as 26-year-old Siddhant Vitthal Patil of India and 28-year-old Raju Jha of Nepal.

Patil hiked above the ravine on the Avalanche Lake Trail and left the trail, park officials said. While standing on a large rock, he fell into Avalanche Creek.

It remains unclear whether he slipped on a wet rock or lost his balance, officials said. Friends and witnesses saw him fall into the creek, go underwater and resurface briefly before being swept up by the current and into the ravine.

The ALERT helicopter conducted aerial searches of the creek for Patil and rangers searched the area, both without success. Patil is presumed dead, officials said, and rangers suspect the body is being held down by submerged obstacles such as fallen trees or rocks.

Rangers monitoring the area have found personal items washed downstream. The water in the gorge is unsearchable due to depth and turbulence, creating watery conditions, officials said.

Rangers on Wednesday flew a drone to determine the location of the body, but the attempt proved unsuccessful. Land survey work continues from the ravine to the bridge on the Trail of the Cedars.

Patil was living and working in California and was vacationing with friends.

Jha drowned while swimming Saturday night in Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground. According to friends, he was an inexperienced swimmer and was about 30 meters away when he began to struggle. Jha went underwater and never resurfaced, officials said.

The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office dive team responded and recovered the body at approximately 8:20 p.m.

Jha was living in Portland, Oregon vacationing with friends.

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