By Blair Miller
Daily Montanan

Two men in their twenties died after drowning Saturday in two different areas of Glacier National Park, a park spokesperson announced Sunday.

The first man, a 26-year-old from India living in California and visiting the park with friends, was hiking near the gorge on the Avalanche Lake Trail when he went into Avalanche Creek around 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

After he entered the creek, he went underwater, briefly resurfaced, then was swept up by the current and into the gorge.

Witnesses called dispatch at 8:37 a.m., and campground staff and law enforcement rangers were on scene by 9 a.m., according to the park.

A search-and-rescue helicopter and more than 10 rangers looked for the man along the creek, but he was not found and is presumed dead – believed to be caught underwater in the gorge. A park official said runoff is still very high in the creek and rangers cannot enter the gorge.

The second man drowned Saturday evening just before 6:30 p.m. Identified as a 28-year-old man from Nepal who was living in Portland, Ore., and vacationing with friends, the man was swimming in Lake McDonald near Sprague Creek Campground.

Friends told park officials he was an inexperienced swimmer and began to struggle about 30 yards offshore. The man went underwater and never resurfaced.

People called 911 at 6:25 p.m. and rangers arrived by 6:50 p.m., according to the park. The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office’s dive team recovered the man’s body about 35 feet underwater around 8:20 p.m.

A park spokesperson said officials had contacted the consulates for Nepal and India to get in contact with both men’s next of kin. Their identities had not been released as of 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The two drownings mark the second and third in just about two weeks at Glacier National Park. Gillian Tones, 26, of Pennsylvania, died of drowning on June 23 after slipping on rocks and getting swept over waterfalls near Virginia Falls.

Drowning is one of the top three causes of death of visitors to the park, along with natural causes and falls, park officials said in 2022, which was tied for the deadliest year in the park. As of 2017, there were 56 people who had drowned in the park, the Great Falls Tribune reported.