Larry Dowling, 08-08-07

Hiker dies after fall into river
CROW PASS: The victim slipped while crossing; his companion was able to recover the body.


Published: August 9, 2007

A man hiking the Crow Pass trail Wednesday morning slipped while crossing Eagle River, fell into the swift current and apparently drowned, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers were uncertain of the man's identity and age, said spokeswoman Megan Peters. She did not know whether he was an Alaskan or lived elsewhere, or whether his next of kin had been notified, she said.

A troopers helicopter crew was able to recover the body Wednesday afternoon, she said.

The victim had been hiking with another man along the popular Chugach State Park trail from Girdwood to the Eagle River Nature Center, according to Peters. She said she did not know when, how or why the man slipped and went under.

The victim's partner, she said, was able to recover his body after it was carried downstream and became tangled in sweepers, tree branches that overhang the riverbank.

The victim's backpack, with his identification, was lost to the river, said Peters.

The partner tried but failed to revive the victim, she said.

Thirty minutes after his body was brought on shore, another hiking party of up to four members came upon the survivor and the dead man, Peters said.

She said the hikers in the second party were still being interviewed by troopers Wednesday evening.

One or more members of either party reached the Eagle River Nature Center, at about Mile 12 of Eagle River Road, sometime before noon Wednesday and phoned Anchorage police, who called troopers. An Anchorage police officer conducted at least one interview, according to Peters.

The hikers told police they had marked the victim's body with a red handkerchief, Peters said. Despite the confusion caused by the many markers along the trail, the helicopter crew was able, after some searching, to find the dead man, land in a nearby clearing and recover his body, she said.

The 26-mile Crow Pass trek draws hundreds of hikers and backpackers every year and is the site of an annual footrace. Hikers and runners take the trail in both directions but more often from Girdwood to the nature center. Either way, it involves a challenging, occasionally dicey crossing of Eagle River, whose cold, gray waters issue from the Eagle Glacier just a few miles upstream.

The investigation is being supervised by the troopers' Girdwood office, according to Peters.

State Troopers have released the identity of that Hiker who drowned while trying to cross Eagle River on Tuesday.

38-year old Larry Dowling of Limerick, Ireland was with another person, heading through the 26-mile Crow Pass Crossing, when he went under. CPR was attempted, but was unsuccessful.

Another hiking party tried to help, but eventually had to hike to the Eagle River trail head and call authorities. Helo-1 was able to pick up the body on Wednesday.