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Nooksack River flowing at a depth of about 8 feet looking west from Hovander Homestead Park (May, 19, 2018). Video: My Ferndale News

Hours-long search for man who went into the Nooksack River to evade police

Law enforcement, fire and aid crews were dispatched to an area of the Nooksack River south of Main Street in Ferndale about 1:30am this morning after a person was reported to be in the water.

According to Ferndale Police Sergeant Kevin Davis, “the person involved was having a mental health breakdown and walked into the river naked and walked away from officers who were trying to talk him out of the river. The male eventually disappeared from sight ”

Ferndale Police requested assistance from US Customs and Border Protection swift water rescue, boats from Lummi Nation Police and personnel from WCFD7 to assist in the search.

According to WCFD7 Division Chief Ben Boyko, the person was reported to have been last seen and heard in the water south of the Ferndale Water Treatment. Due to the night darkness, WCFD7 assisted searchers with high-intensity LED scene lights and thermal-imaging cameras.

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Ferndale Police Sergeant Kevin Davis said searchers continued until about 9am. The man’s family was notified and soon after they notified Ferndale Police he was possibly at the emergency room at PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center.

Davis said he contacted the man at the emergency room and confirmed he was who they had been searching for. Apparently, Davis said, he made it across the river and slept in a field at Hovander Homestead Park before being picked up and going to the emergency room.

Davis said the man “is now recovering from the cold water and from lacerations from the bushes.”

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