Man's body found after small raft flips in Wenatchee River rapids

LEAVENWORTH -- The body of a 68-year-old man was found in the Wenatchee River Sunday morning, hours after a raft he was riding in without a life jacket flipped in treacherous rapids.

Family members found the body of Charles Beedle Sr. near a low lying boulder in the middle of the river outside of Leavenworth, the Chelan County Sheriff's Office said.

Beedle was one of four people who placed two small rafts in the river around 7:30 p.m. Saturday just below the Tumwater Dam along U.S. Highway 2. Beedle and his daughter-in-law had difficulty navigating the swift water near the dam, sheriff's deputies say, and both fell into the river.

Beedle's daughter-in-law managed to work her way to the north side of the river and hold onto a rock until she was located by search and rescue crews.

Two people in the other raft managed to self-rescue and were unharmed.  They flagged down a passing Washington State Patrol Trooper around 9 p.m. Saturday night and notify them of the situation.

Officials said no one was wearing life jackets upon entering the rafts.

An extensive search for Beedle began Saturday night and was called off just after midnight. Swift water personnel recovered Beedle's body a short time after it was spotted Sunday.

Chelan County sheriff's deputies encouraged those who plan on rafting to always wear life jackets and have a knowledge of the river.