TOUCHET -- A 24-year-old Walla Walla man died after diving off a 26-foot cliff into the Walla Walla River on Wednesday night near Touchet, officials said.
Joshua R. Zahl reportedly had done a front flip off the cliff and landed on his stomach and face in an area of the river that was about 14 feet deep, Walla Walla County sheriff's deputy Charles Humphreys wrote in his report.
Zahl had been diving with friends at the "Touchet cliffs," which are less than a mile east of the west end of Byrnes Road in Touchet, Humphreys said.
Deputies and medics with Walla Walla Fire District 6 responded at 7:17 p.m. The Walla Walla Fire Department's swift water rescue team also was called.
Witnesses said Zahl turned over after hitting the water and took one breath before going face down again, Humphreys said.
Friends initially thought he was faking it, but after a few moments, they jumped in and tried to help, Humphreys said.
Some people were in the water diving with masks looking for Zahl when deputies arrived.
One swimmer said he was trying to get Zahl to the shore, but Zahl kept pushing the swimmer's head down, causing the swimmer to lose his grip, Humphreys said.
Zahl went under again and did not come back up. He was found by other swimmers at 7:43 p.m.
Paramedics pronounced him dead at 8:11 p.m.
Humphreys said he noticed countless alcohol containers on the ground and in coolers, and witnesses gave varying descriptions of Zahl's condition.
Some said he was intoxicated, while others said he was "buzzed," but witnesses did say he had consumed at least six or seven beers, Humphreys said.
Kennewick apartment had pot growing operation, police say
KENNEWICK -- A marijuana grow was discovered in a Kennewick apartment and its 18-year-old resident was arrested, police said.
Kennewick police found several large marijuana plants inside the 4711 W. Metaline Ave. apartment Wednesday after getting a warrant to search it for an alleged marijuana grow, said Sgt. Ken Lattin.
Starter plants and other materials used to cultivate and package marijuana also were seized, Lattin said.
Troy Gray was arrested and booked into the Benton County jail on suspicion of manufacturing marijuana and maintaining a drug house.
* Paula Horton: 509-582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org