6-Year-Old Girl Dead Following Bitterroot River Accident

A 6-year-old Missoula girl died Sunday following a boating accident on the Bitterroot River.

According to The Montana Standard, the drift boat that the girl had been riding capsized in the hydraulic step below a diversion dam between the Woodside and Tucker fishing access sites.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said that the girl and others in the group ended up in the water, and the girl and several others ended up caught in the strong currents behind the dam.

According to Missoulian, he girl, now being identified as Joslyn Sage Farrell, had been spending the summer with her father in Missoula.

Officials said that there were several adults and children in the boat, all of which were wearing floatation devices.

The Montana Standard reported that emergency crews where dispatched at 3:46 p.m. , Sunday.

Members of the Corvallis Fire Department and QRU, Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office, Ravalli County Search and Rescue, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks responded to the call.

Once emergency responders arrived at the scene, CPR was already being performed on the girl, who they located on a gravel bar downstream from the diversion dam according to Hoffman.

The girl was transported via Life Flight to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, where she died.

The Bitterroot River waters that run around the dam have been a major cause for concern in the past few years.

The Montana Standard stated “The river has been migrating toward the east for the past couple of years. FWP officials posted signs at the juncture two years ago to warn people of the danger.”

“Due to changes in the water’s flow this year, the west channel of this stretch of river no longer has enough water for boat travel.

“All floaters downstream of Woodside FAS must travel in the channel containing the diversion dam.”

Hoffman told  The Montana Standard that there are signs posted at the state fishing access site warning of downstream diversion dam hazards.

“People need to take the time to stop and look at them,” Hoffman said. “This river is more dangerous than it looks.”

Because people are not paying attention to these sorts of signs, boating accidents such as this are bound to happen.

This boating accident comes right after the Lake Powell boating accident this past weekend.

No other injuries had been reported in the Bitterroot boating accident according to The Montana Standard.

[Image by John David Stutts via Wikimedia Commons]