Thursday, June 20, 2024

Man rescued from submerged vehicle in Lake Chelan expected to survive


MANSON– The Colville man who was rescued from a submerged vehicle in Lake Chelan is expected to survive. 

Erik G. Korbely, 37, was life-flighted to Harborview Medical Center Monday evening after his car crashed into Lake Chelan near Manson.

Washington State Patrol Officer Jeremy Weber said Korbely is showing signs of improvement and is more responsive than originally thought.

“For us, you know, every life is important,” Weber said. “And so we're really grateful that that didn't turn out to be a fatality.”

WSP Troopers said Korbely was westbound on SR 150 when he lost control of his vehicle, struck a guardrail on the eastbound side and plunged into the lake. The vehicle came to rest on its top and was fully submerged. 

Manson Fire Chief Arnold Baker said it took work from both Manson and Chelan fire departments and Lake Chelan EMS to free the man. 

“It really was very fortunate that we had both departments there because it took a lot of work to get him out of the car,” Baker said.

Baker said firefighters had to use air packs to stay in the frigid water long enough to free the man and pull him out of the vehicle. 

Firefighters were then able to put the man in the litter basket while another crew worked to lift him up from the lakeside. Rescuers then began CPR.

Baker said the call came in at 7:30 p.m., and it took about 19 minutes to start CPR.

“I made a comment to one of my guys and I said we're not going to stop because it's a cold water drowning,” Baker said. “We're not going to stop and I've seen these come back in 45 minutes of CPR.”

“With the whole, you know, struggle with getting him out of the car, getting him in the litter, getting him up there so that we could begin CPR, 19 minutes, which is a long time to be down, but we're really hoping that because of the cold water will slow his metabolism and reduce the amount of brain damage,” Baker said. 

After several minutes of CPR, they were able to get a light pulse, and Korbely was then airlifted to Harborview.

“So we hope the very best for him and his family,” Baker said. 

It is unknown if the man was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident.

The incident is under investigation by the Washington State Patrol. 

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or


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