Following four days of searching, crews pulled the body of a 16-year-old Deary High School student from Elk Creek Falls on Thursday afternoon, according to a Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office news release.
Search crews on Wednesday evening located the body of the teen, Luis Diaz, but were unable to remove the body before nightfall. Diaz, of Bovill, had been missing since he slipped and fell down Elk Creek Falls on Sunday afternoon.
Crews had worked this week to reduce the flow in Elk Creek to lower the water level of the 23-foot-deep pool behind the falls, where Diaz’s body was eventually located wedged in rocks.
Seven agencies assisted in the search efforts. Rick Miller, incident commander for the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue team, said Wednesday that two divers that afternoon searched the pool below the middle falls before a member of a rope team rappelled to search along and behind the falls.
The person rappelling was unable to search all of the areas because of the waterflow, the release stated.
A detection dog and a drone team were also on scene and Back Country Medics used a helicopter to evaluate options for completely stopping the waterflow at the top of the falls so all of the voids behind the falls could be searched.
Diaz was with a small group of friends hiking around the falls Sunday afternoon when he apparently slipped and went over the edge into the pool, which Miller said is about 25 feet in width.
The initial news release from the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office on Monday said Diaz’s friends saw him fall and did not see him again after he entered the water. The sheriff’s office received the report shortly before 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
A donation account has been set up at Potlatch No. 1 Financial Credit Union to help Diaz’s family, according to a Facebook post from a person who knew Diaz. The account number is 133563.