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Public Asked to Stop Phone Use after Man Drowns in E. Idaho

Adam Berry, Getty Images

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Law enforcement officials in eastern Idaho asked spectators at the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration fireworks show to turn off cellphones while rescuers responded to a reported drowning in the Snake River.

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot made the announcement on a radio station that was scheduled to broadcast the soundtrack for the fireworks show on Thursday but instead updated listeners while the fireworks were delayed until 11 p.m. Bonneville County Sheriff’s Lt. James Foster tells the Post Register that emergency dispatch received so many calls that cellphone towers became overloaded.

T-Mobile and AT&T say their systems experienced a high volume of calls from a congested area. Bonneville County officials say 27-year-old Lloyd N. Westbrook II drowned trying to swim to an island in the Snake River.

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