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Stuck bus towed out of river in Columbia Falls

Blankenship Bus Stuck
Blankenship Bridge Map
Posted at 3:00 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 17:00:07-04

COLUMBIA FALLS — The US Forest Service (USFS) received calls on Tuesday afternoon about a bus being stuck in the Middle Fork River downstream from the Blankenship Bridge in Columbia Falls.

Hungry Horse District Ranger Rob Davies says the gravel bar that is along the river is a very popular place for free camping, and a man had decided to park in the gravel bar for four to five hours.

Davies says due to the depth of the water, the gravel bar had been covered in water causing the bus to be stuck. A tow truck was called and removed the bus later Tuesday evening. No damage was done to the bus, it did not leak any pollutants into the water.

Davies says this incident is not the first and will not be the last time.

"This kind of thing happens, almost every year. We have large recreation vehicles getting stuck somewhere on the narrow road, trying to turn around, as recreation is basically exploding here in the Flathead Valley. we had more and more incidences where newcomers maybe not familiar with the area are not very aware of conditions,” said Davies.

Davies also wants to use this incident as a reminder to outdoor recreationists to always watch for changing conditions whether it be weather or even river height.