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Pennsylvania woman drowns near St. Mary Falls

| June 26, 2024 12:00 AM

Authorities on Tuesday identified the woman who drowned near St. Mary Falls on the east side of Glacier National Park as 26-year-old Gillian Tones of North Apollo, Pennsylvania.

Park officials initially said that Tones went into the water above St. Mary Falls on June 23, but clarified Tuesday that she likely slipped on wet, slick rocks and fell into Virginia Creek between the St. Mary and Virginia falls, about 200 yards above the trail bridge.  

Tones was swept up by the cold, fast moving water and went over a series of smaller waterfalls before becoming pinned underwater by a log for several minutes, officials said. Nearby visitors undertook “heroic efforts” to free her from the water, authorities said. 

Despite resuscitation efforts by bystanders, park rangers, ambulance personnel and A.L.E.R.T. air ambulance medics, Tones never regained consciousness. She was pronounced dead by A.L.E.R.T. personnel about 7 p.m., June 23. 

Park dispatchers received multiple 911 calls routed through Glacier County dispatch at about 5:20 p.m. Park rangers were on the scene by about 5:45 p.m. and the A.L.E.R.T. helicopter landed nearby about 6:20 p.m.