Update 6/20:

Rescue crews are waiting for evidence to wash up before more time is spent in the water searching for the man believed to have drowned near Index on Saturday.

“He still hasn't been recovered, unfortunately, and the water is just pouring over Sunset Falls,” said Snohomish County Sheriff's Office Lt. John Blood. “It is just way too dangerous to put any divers into the river...”

It is believed that the 49-year-old man’s body may be stuck at the base of the falls, Blood said. The situation has been discussed with the victim’s family, and they know the agency could lose team members if they’re deployed, he said.

The man’s 32-year-old girlfriend, whom he was walking with on a nearby roadway that afternoon around 4 p.m., told officials that he slipped and fell into the Skykomish River.

The woman said he resurfaced at one point, Blood said. It is not known how much time he spent underwater before reemerging, but it appeared his shirt was missing. The man also seemed to be unconscious at that point, he said.

Emergency responders worked in the area for about two hours before suspending the search.

Blood said Sunset Falls is one in a series of waterfalls on the Skykomish River, and is about 150-feet tall; the depth of the pool at its base is about 28 feet. The roadway that runs alongside the river the couple was on can only be accessed on foot, he said. 

Remote underwater sonar and camera equipment was used to survey the pool from on top of the water Saturday. Dive and Swift Water Rescue units and Fire District 26 responders were dispatched to the scene. The sheriff’s office’s SnoHawk1 helicopter surveyed the area from above, and Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue units also assisted on the ground. 

Blood said the same equipment that was used this weekend could help recover the man's body. Currently, the hope is that some piece of clothing or evidence will show up to help narrow down where another search should take place, he said.

If there was a smaller area to scan that is a safe distance from the falls, it may be possible to send in a diver, Blood said. Otherwise, it is expected the man's body will be found when it comes to the surface on its own within a week, he said.

Blood said rescue crews will continue making regular trips back to the area. If there are any scheduled helicopter trainings in the area, members will make a flyover, he said.

“And, of course, people in the area are looking,” Blood said.

Blood advises contacting the sheriff's office if anything is found on the river they believe may be related to the man. It is recommended to wear a flotation device if standing within 10 feet of a waterway, and to be aware that temperatures this time of year can still shock the body, he said.

The agency will release more information as it becomes available. 

Original story

A 49-year-old man may have drowned on the Skykomish River near Index on Saturday.

The man was walking with a 32-year-old woman along a roadway near Sunset Falls when he slipped and fell into the river, according to a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office news release. Responders were sent to the area around 4 p.m., after the woman called for help.

“Units searched the area at the base of Sunset Falls without success,” according to the release. “...the area to be searched is 28 (feet) deep with a tremendous volume of water tumbling over the fall making it extremely unsafe and dangerous to deploy divers into the water.”

Remote underwater sonar and camera equipment was used to search from on top of the water. Dive and Swift Water Rescue units and Fire District 26 responders were dispatched to the scene. The sheriff’s office SnoHawk1 helicopter surveyed the area from above, and Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue units also assisted on the ground.

The release states crews worked for about two hours before making the call to suspend the search. 

“When new evidence of the victim’s location is discovered, units will resume operations,” according to the release.