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18-year-old drowned after recreating near Last Chance Canal flume

The flume on the Last Chance Canal carries water over the Bear River in Caribou County. | Courtesy
GRACE — A young man is presumed to have drowned near the flume on the Last Chance Canal near Grace on Saturday, Caribou County Sheriff Kelly Wells announced.
Deputy reports show 18-year-old Mason S. Romanelli of Chubbuck had been “shooting the flume” with friends at around 6 p.m.
The flume is a manmade water channel at the top of a high bridge, which carries water over the Bear River. The flume comes out of a tunnel at the side of a ravine which shuttles water across the bridge. “Shooting the flume” refers to traveling through the tunnel and across the bridge.
After being in the canal, the sheriff’s office says the friends were in the process of walking back across the flume. Romanelli decided he did not want to walk back on top of the flume as he was concerned about the height of it, according to a news release.
They decided to walk down the far bank and swim back across the river.
Romanelli was on his friend’s back as they attempted to swim back as he was concerned about making it by himself, according to the news release. As the two got away from shore, they sunk and Mason went under the water.
His friend immediately swam to shore to retrieve a tree branch to assist Romanelli, but he did not resurface. His friends frantically searched for him as emergency responders were called to the scene.
Emergency responders and volunteers searched the area, but did not find Romanelli. They stopped search when it got dark. Search efforts continued Sunday.
The Sheriff’s Office is asking people to stay out of the area while emergency responders continue to search to avoid congestion in the area. will update this story when more details are released.

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