NewsMontana and Regional News


Glacier National Park drowning victim identified

St. Mary Falls
Posted at 10:10 AM, Jun 25, 2024

GREAT FALLS — The woman who drowned near St. Mary Falls on the east side of Glacier National Park on Sunday, June 23, 2024. has been identified as 26-year-old Gillian Tones from North Apollo, Pennsylvania.

Glacier National Park staff said in a news release on Tuesday that it was first reported that Tones went into the water above St. Mary Falls.

Witnesses later clarified that Tones slipped on wet, slick rocks and fell into Virginia Creek between St. Mary and Virginia Falls, about 200 yards above the trail bridge.

Tones was quickly swept up by the cold, fast moving water and went over a series of smaller waterfalls, then was pinned underwater by a log for several minutes until heroic efforts by other park visitors led to pulling her from the river.

Park dispatch received numerous 911 calls routed through Glacier County dispatch at approximately 5:20 pm. Park rangers were on the scene by approximately 5:45 pm. ALERT helicopter landed nearby at about 6:20 pm.

Despite resuscitation efforts by bystanders, park rangers, ambulance personnel and ALERT helicopter medics, Tones never regained consciousness and was declared dead by ALERT personnel at about 7 pm.

From the Glacier National Park Conservancy website:

Water is the number one cause of fatalities in Glacier National Park. Please use extreme caution near water. Swift, cold glacial streams and rivers, moss-covered rocks, and slippery logs all present dangers. Children, photographers, boaters, rafters, swimmers, and fishermen have fallen victim to these rapid, frigid streams and deep glacial lakes. Avoid wading in or fording swift streams. Never walk, play, or climb on slippery rocks and logs, especially around waterfalls. When boating, don’t stand up or lean over the side, and always wear a lifejacket.

Park staff thanked Glacier County, ALERT, Babb Ambulance and US Border Patrol for their support, along with numerous bystanders for their assistance.

We will update you if we get more information.