Visitor Drowns In Glacier National Park

Jul 14, 2014

A Washington state woman died one day after falling into a creek in Glacier National Park.

Park spokeswoman Denise Germann identifies the victim as Abigail Sylvester of Buckley, Washington. Sylvester was 33-years-old.

Just above McDonald Falls at the lower end of Sacred Dancing Cascades.
Credit GlacierNPS License (CC-BY-2.0)

Germann says the investigation indicates Sylvester was taking a picture of McDonald Creek, near the upper falls, when she slipped, fell in and was rapidly carried downstream in the cold, swollen and fast-running creek. Her husband jumped-in to save her, but eventually had to save himself due to the extreme conditions.

Germann says a father, mother and teenage son traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road noticed the unfolding incident and went to a bridge near the Lower McDonald Creek Falls to help search for the woman. The unidentified father is a volunteer firefighter. He spotted the woman and waded in to the waist-deep water to retrieve her. His son helped get her on a small island. They, along with other visitors and park rangers assisted with and performed CPR. Sylvester was transported to Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Germann note that drowning is one of the most common causes of death in the park:

"Please be careful around water - and that's any body of water; if it's a stream, if it's a lake, if it's a river...especially this time of year with the snow load that we've had. We've got water that's running, it's high, it's moving fast, it's cold. Just use caution."

Abigail Sylvester died yesterday of drowning.