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Plains family mourns loss of 3 family members, killed in Clark Fork River crash

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jun 16 2013 12:57:43 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 17 2013 10:28:16 AM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

On Saturday NBC Montana told you about a witness who reportedly saw a car with three passengers sink beneath the water of the Clark Fork River outside of Plains, Friday evening. 

Sunday afternoon Sanders County Sheriff’s Department officials have confirmed the three passengers reported missing: 63-year old Kathy Legard and her two grandchildren, 13-year old Jake Andrew Legard and 4-year old Peytan Elizabeth Yoder.

It was a heart breaking day in Plains Sunday afternoon while family members watched as divers pulled their loved ones from the river, just yards from the family home

“I just ask that everyone out there be praying for the Legard family,” said Tom Rummel, Sanders County Sheriff. “Let’s lift them up in prayer through this tough time.”

NBC Montana was 13 miles past Plains, on River Road West, Sunday afternoon when officials recovered Kathy's vehicle and confirmed the tragic news with the family.

It was extremely heart wrenching to witness -- one of the mothers dropped to ground sobbing, another relative told us she has heard about families losing multiple members at one time but she said she never thought it would happen to her family.

Rummel tells NBC Montana murky, fast moving water made the search extremely difficult.  He tells us divers surfaced to report the river is at least eight feet deep at some parts, with boulders dislodging from the bottom easily.    

The search spanned from Friday evening, after a neighbor called to report the car in the river at around 7:30 p.m., through Sunday afternoon, when the vehicle was recovered around 2:00 p.m.

“Search and Rescue was having a hard time coming up with the vehicle,” said Rummel.  “We had the point of entry but we could not locate it.”

Rummel tells us the vehicle was located roughly 200 yards down the river from the point of entrance.  He adds that this is a tragic loss and he hopes people will pray for the family.    

"A grand dad without his wife and his grand children, two fathers without their children and two mothers without their children on Father's Day,” said Rummel.  “This is a terrible loss - please I again ask that everyone out there be praying for them.”

The Sanders County Sheriff's Department tells us the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

They also want to thank Flathead County Search and Rescue for their efforts. 

We are going to continue to follow this, and keep you updated as we learn more.