BENTON, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say two women have died in two days while rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. As the oldest company on the Ocoee River, we have provided guided whitewater rafting adventures for 44 years. Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip waiver forms for whitewater rafting with Ocoee Adventure center. The Middle Ocoee River is half a day of Tennessee white water rafting fun for individuals, families, and groups. She has been identified as 15-years-old Yari Hernandez from Leesburg, Florida. UPDATE: The Polk County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the 25-year-old who drowned in the Ocoee River. High Country Adventures: Guide fozzy at high country rafting! McGruder and Luna bump that up to eight. Early reports indicated that the river was running higher than unusual, but the levels were within the range considered safe for commercial rafting, according to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The river was full of rafters again Monday, a day after Luna died. The Ocoee River in Southeast Tennessee is one of the world’s most popular whitewater rafting rivers. "It's very seldom that we have accidents like this, and to have two in the same weekend is absolutely unbelievable.". The Upper Ocoee combined with the Middle Ocoee River offers the finest full day of continuous Class III and IV whitewater action in the Southeast. "I can't quote years of experience, but I know one of them has been around since the 1980s.". Including a run through the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Course. Ten miles of everything both the Upper Ocoee and Middle Ocoee have to offer plus a break for a great riverside lunch midway down the river. This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. Material from the Associated Press is Copyright Â© 2020, Associated Press and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. From beginning to end, the Ocoee river will get you soaked, smiling and laughing. "Our pressing concern right now is looking at what happened and what took place," he said. The two raised that total to eight. Welcome to r/whitewater! The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is investigating the deaths of Marnita McGruder, 51, of Rex, Ga., and Katherine Tyler Luna, 36, of Smyrna, Tenn. Six people have died on the Middle Ocoee since 1993, according to American Whitewater, a national nonprofit organization focused on preserving rivers and whitewater. Is there lodging near the Ocoee River? Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip waiver forms for whitewater rafting with Ocoee Adventure center. Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. Before that, the last recorded death of a customer on a commercial raft was in 1998, said Kip Gilliam, president of the Ocoee River Outfitters Association. High Country Adventures: Accident or death waiting to happen - See 2,384 traveler reviews, 948 candid photos, and great deals for Ocoee, TN, at Tripadvisor. Our Upper Only Ocoee River trip offers 5 miles class III and IV whitewater. High Country Adventures did not return a request for comment, and Sunburst Adventures declined to comment. Brockman said McGruder and Luna were both wearing life vests and helmets. It is the first death involving a whitewater customer since two men had medical issues in 2014 and 2015, according to Ocoee River Outfitters Association Ryan Cooke. McGruder grabbed a rescue rope but lost consciousness before she could be pulled to safety. We’ll be following CDC and U.S. Coast Guard guidelines on all our trips and facilities. Because it's the same rapid -- "Grumpy's" -- where two women died in separate incidents Saturday and Sunday after falling out of their professionally guided rafts. - See 2,720 traveler reviews, 1,204 candid photos, and great deals for Ocoee, TN, at Tripadvisor. There are very few rafts on the river which means you can extend your trip with extra whitewater play time as long as you’d like. The rafting industry on the Ocoee employs 622 people and generates $43.83 million in economic activity each year, according to the UT study. Hookway shook her head as she stood on the side of the river waiting for her kayaking buddy to make it through the stretch, which is right at the beginning of the run. TheÂ teenage girl who fellÂ off a raftÂ during a whitewater paddling trip down the Ocoee River has died, according to church members who knew the girl, a family member and a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the family's medical expenses. The Ocoee Whitewater Rafting Full River Trip Best Rafting Trip in the Southeast. Welcome to Ocoee Rafting! Online reservations are available or give us a call. Some witnesses said it looked as if McGruder may have had a heart attack, but the results of the autopsy won't be available for several weeks. "We probably had more high water this year than I can ever remember, and I've been around 30 years," he said. Two people died in Ocoee Lake, which flows into the river, and a third man died after falling into the man-made upper section of the river near the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Since 1976, Ocoee Rafting has welcomed many to miles of challenging and exciting Class III and IV rapids on one of the country's premier rivers. A dad is fighting for his life after a white water rafting accident left him hospitalised. With the biggest, wettest, most fun stretch of unbroken rapids in the Southeast, the Ocoee River is the must-raft destination for visitors from Atlanta, Knoxville, Chattanooga and across the greater Blue Ridge area. This photo shows a kayaker on the Ocoee River in the Cherokee National Forest in Ducktown, Tennessee during the US Whitewater Kayak/Canoe Olympic Trials in April, 2000. Update July 25, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.: A family member of the victim confirmed the girl was 15 years old. An investigation is being conducted by Hiwassee/Ocoee Scenic River State Park rangers who will be issuing a report at the conclusion of their work.Â. She was unable to make it to shore and was picked up by two kayakers around 11:45 a.m. Rescuers performed CPR on both women, and both were taken by ambulance to Copper Basin Medical Center, about nine miles away. On Sunday the flow was slightly less, at 2,200 to 2,500 cubic feet per second. "Our rafting guide, Raphael (Rafi) from Outdoor Adventure Rafting, did a fantastic job of providing our group with an adventurous, fun, entertaining, bonding, and safe trip." Classifying rivers is not an exact science but can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect on your adventure. And regardless of the official safe water level, the final decision on whether to raft is made by each trip leader, Gilliam said. White Water Rafting Tennessee *Coronavirus, Covid-19 Update – Summer rafting season on the Ocoee River has returned. Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6525. You can expect classic drops and big water rapids. A guide with Rolling Thunder is tossed out of his raft while running a rapid on the Ocoee River named "Grumpy's" where two women died this past weekend. Rossville man arrested over nude pics intended for Hollywood star, Letter stymies payday empire of Chattanooga's Carey Brown. One experienced rafting guide says the river was flowing too fast when two women were killed this weekend after their rafts overturned. At the time, there had been six deaths on the Middle Ocoee since 1993, according to American Whitewater, a national nonprofit organization focused on preserving rivers and whitewater. HOME; RAFTING. Every year, about 230,000 adventurers flock to the Ocoee River, which is the most-visited whitewater river in the United States, according to a study by the University of Tennessee released in May. If the water flow gets that high, TVA alerts the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and that agency alerts rafters, said TDEC spokeswoman Kelly Brockman. A friend of the victim and rafting outfitters had previously said the girl was 16, while the GoFundMe page had her age listed as 15. "We're still in the investigation process, and it could take a few weeks," she said. A day later, Luna fell out of her raft with several other people when the raft was caught in the same rapid. Rafting 5 days a week, Thursday through Monday. The 15-year-old Florida girl was rafting with a group from her church on Sunday when paddlers in her boat fell out in the Class III+ tablesaw rapid. "It's not that they weren't experienced on high water. And while some adventurers, like Hookway, opted to skip "Grumpy's," several companies were again running rafts through that rapid. This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. Material from the Associated Press is Copyright Â© 2020, Associated Press and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The rapids are categorized as Class III, but Mickey’s is Class IV. A reference to the friend and rafting outfitter listing her age as 16 has been removed. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpaceÂ and on Facebook atÂ ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP. Jenkins said he's more concerned about figuring out what happened Saturday and Sunday than he is worried about the effect the deaths could have on his customer base. Copyright Â© 2020, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. 15.4k members in the whitewater community. His friends tried to rescue him but were not able to get him out of the water. This is not the first time it's been at that level.". The Ocoee served as host for the kayaking and canoeing events during the 1996 Summer Olympics. "Both of the guys this weekend were very good raft guys," he said. It did spike on them, which was unusual.". A 15-year-old girl who was in a rafting accident on the Ocoee River on Sunday has died. The girl's leg got caught in a rescue rope. She confirmed that TVA never made that call. Whether you decide to take a trip down the Middle Ocoee, the Upper Ocoee, or both, we want you to have a great whitewater experience. "The first time I skipped it, I just thought, well it's my first time on the river, let's not do the hardest rapid," she said. April – This is a great time for Ocoee River rafting.The air temperatures range 60s to 80s. 2 rafting deaths in 2 days on Ocoee River in Tenn. Home Share; ocoee rafting / ocoee river / ocoee river rafting … Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. The decision was made Monday, according to the church members. A teenage girl who fell into the Ocoee River in Polk County, Tennessee while rafting last Sunday has died. "Commercial traffic did not stop," she said. "Hannah was the perfect guide for us as a family of 3! Carnage Video featuring clips of white water rafting on the Upper Ocoee, Middle Ocoee and Olympic Section. This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast. The girl's death is the fourth on the Ocoee this year,Â making 2019 an unusually deadly year. A 23-year-old rafting guide drowned Saturday on the Ocoee River while trying to rescue some passengers. 17 votes, 12 comments. Located in the Cherokee National Forest the river provides continuous whitewater excitement with class III and IV rapids scattered down its entire length. ", Two people from her church confirmed the information.Â. If you are rafting the Ocoee River our outpost address is: 225 Industrial Driver Ducktown, TN 37326. Furthermore, about 30% of those deaths come from heart conditions or heart attacks. This is the whole enchilada of the Ocoee rafting world! Keith Jenkins, owner of Quest Expeditions, agreed that the river has been high all summer. Our goal is to provide a safe trip.". McGruder was rafting with High Country Adventures, and Luna was on the river with Sunburst Adventures. Explore the mighty Olympic Ocoee River with Ocoee Outdoors, the #1 Ocoee River Rafting Company since 1977. Grace Hookway kayaked the Ocoee River on Monday, but she skipped the first major rapid in the Middle Ocoee. A web page says the family had the difficult decision of taking the 15-year-old off life support. Commercial rafters have to get off the water at 3,000 cubic feet per second. Their deaths were the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. Stan Guy had grown up on the Ocoee and was a guide for the Sunburst Rafting Company in Benton. The deaths over the weekend are the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. The Ocoee Whitewater Center, near Ducktown, Tennessee, United States, was the canoe slalom venue for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and is the only in-river course to be used for Olympic slalom competition. The different levels of river rafting on the Ocoee mean just about anyone can take part in an exhilarating experience! Everyone, including Scouts and camps with teens, love this roller coaster stretch of river where your guide will steer you through an unbroken run of class III … Gilliam didn't think high water flow affected the guides involved in the accident, who he said were very experienced. I don't want to be the third one.". "But now, I'll just avoid it. "We've been rafting on that same amount of water all summer. "They can make that call; if they don't want to go, they don't have to go," he said, adding that the weekend's water was high but not unusual. Choose from 2 of our exciting Ocoee based rafting trips near Chattanooga, Knoxville and Ducktown, TN. There have been grief counselors to help the other children on the trip, according to one mother of a student on the trip. Man shocked while painting Wednesday at Pilgrim's Pride, Justice Department puts Big Tech under the antitrust microscope. A 1,640 foot (500 m) stretch of the Upper Ocoee River was narrowed by two-thirds to create the drops and eddies needed for a slalom course. At the time of the accident Saturday, the water was flowing between 2,300 and 2,600 cubic feet per second, according to TVA. One woman was pulled back on board. All rights reserved. In other words, there is one death for every 250,000 to 400,000 "person visits" of whitewater rafting. Culminating with a run through the Upper section’s most famous rapid, Humongous. The water is warming up with Ocoee River water temperatures in the mid to upper 50s. "They pull certificates and they look at the waivers that were signed and that kind of stuff.". The Ocoee River in in the Cherokee National Forest is among the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the country because of its more than 20 continuous rapids. [She] has passed away and had her loving family by her side. Wildwater offers fully-guided half day trips on both sections of the river, as well as a full-day combo trip. The teenager's death this weekend occurred on the more heavily trafficked middle section of the river. This subreddit is a place to discuss anything and … If you are rafting the Nantahala River our outpost address is: 715 US Hwy 19 Topton, NC 28781. POLK COUNTY, Tenn. — The teenager who fell into the Ocoee River while rafting on Sunday has died, according to a GoFundMe Page set up for her medical expenses and an obituary. Ocoee Rafting. On Saturday, McGruder and another women fell out of their raft around 11:30 a.m., according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. The primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States and connects the interests of human-powered recreational river users with ecological and science-based data to achieve goals within our mission. Before that, the last recorded death of a customer on a commercial raft was in 1998, said Kip Gilliam, a rafting outfitter president at the time. Before that, the previous drowning came in 2013 whenÂ two women died about 24 hours apart. Of course, there are other factors to consider, such as the classification of the river , the time of year, and the maturity of the rafter. About 4,700 people rafted the river Saturday, Gilliam said. She was rushed to Erlanger Medical Center andÂ had been in critical conditionÂ on life support.Â, "[The girl's] family decided to take her off life support," an update on the page read.Â "There was too much swelling in her brain and nothing more the doctors could do. "It's a freak accident, two times in 24 hours," he said. Ocoee whitewater with NOC is Tennessee rafting at its best. The deaths over the weekend are the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. Upper Only Ocoee River Rafting Trips. Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium. The Ocoee River is America's most-traveled commercial paddling river. Two people died in 2011, the first fatalities in six years. Tennessee’s most experienced outfitter, Ocoee Outdoors will guide you through almost continuous class III – IV whitewater excitement from beginning to end. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing. The advice below is based on their experiences. The AP will not be held liable for any delays, inaccuracies, errors or omissions therefrom or in the transmission or delivery of all or any part thereof or for any damages arising from any of the foregoing. Known for its big waves, warm water and continuous action. Check out our Find Us page. HOME; RAFTING. "That's more important than the loss of business. Contact Mark Pace atÂ email@example.comÂ orÂ 423-757-6659. She was with her church youth group when she fell off the raft and into the river… The Middle Ocoee contains Level III rapids, which require strong intermediate skills, according to American Whitewater. She tailored the trip to our desires both having fun on the river and making sure we were safely rafting." All rights reserved. Two people died in Ocoee Lake, which flows into the river, and a third man died after falling into the man-made upper section of the river near the Ocoee Whitewater Center. Copyright Â© 2020, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use.
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