July 23rd, 2024

Woman drowns at Glacier National Park


By Justin Sibbet - Lethbridge Herald Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on June 26, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDjsibbet@lethbridgeherald.com

A woman from Pennsylvania drowned after being pulled over a waterfall at a popular tourist attraction for Albertans.

St. Mary’s Falls in Glacier National Park is normally the site of tourists filming smiles and sunshine. However, things took a tragic turn on Sunday afternoon between the St. Mary’s Falls and Virginia Falls.

26-year-old Gillian Tones was “washed over the falls”, where she died after being trapped under a log in the water for several minutes. In a news release, the National Park Service says she slipped on rocks before falling into the Virginia Creek.

“Tones was quickly swept up by the cold, fast moving water and went over a series of smaller waterfalls, then was pinned underwater by a log for several minutes.”

The National Park Service says people nearby heroically attempted to save her life.

“Bystanders pulled her from the water below the falls and administered CPR until emergency responders arrived.”

Multiple calls to 9-1-1 were made and approximately 25 minutes after the first call, emergency crews arrived.

“Park rangers and Babb ambulance personnel took over CPR upon arrival. ALERT helicopter landed nearby at about 6:20 pm and assisted with resuscitation efforts but the victim never regained consciousness. Resuscitation efforts were terminated at about 7 pm and ALERT personnel pronounced the woman deceased.”

The woman’s body was then transported by air to a nearby ranger station, where a coroner then took over transportation to Missoula, Montana where an autopsy will be performed.

The National Park Service says information is still being gathered, but they are sorry for the tragic loss of Tones’ life.

“The park extends their deepest condolences to family and friends of Tones and asks that the public respect their privacy.”

Additionally, the National Park Service thanked those who did their best in attempting to save the woman’s life.

“Park staff would like to thank Glacier County, ALERT, Babb Ambulance and US Border Patrol for their support, along with numerous bystanders for their immediate assistance.”

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