One dead in Arkansas River rafting accident

A woman died rafting on the Numbers section of the Arkansas River, north of Buena Vista, on Thursday. Full Story
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Allen Janney

Tucson, AZ

#3 Jul 8, 2007
We were with Arkansas Valley Adventures (AVA) and were the first rafting group on the scene. One group provided unsuccessful CPR for the first woman who died. Another group provided assistance to Janie (the 14 year old) and the third group helped the third woman. To help us with closure, it would be helpful to understand what happened and the events that lead to the accident. Did it happen in the #5 rapids or further up stream? What can we who raft occassionally, learn from this? Janie kept asking about the condition of her Mom. Is she OK or is that the third victim? Does anyone know the condition of this woman? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Tony wrote:
<quoted text>
David, would you mind volunteering more detail on this matter...just for my edification? My spouse and I went on a Nova Rafting trip last year. Such a shocking tragedy.
Allen

Tucson, AZ

#5 Jul 8, 2007
Kate, I am sorry for the loss of your church member. We prayed for her on the river side while CPR was being administered and am now praying for the comfort for her friends and family. It was simply time for her to go home to Jesus. While I am not the one who said that she should not have been on the river, I will tell you that it was running high enough (between 1,000 & 1,100cfs) on Thursday that we had to portage around the Pine Creek hole. It was definetly a self rescue type of day that required a good swimmer in the event of a spill.
wildaz

Phoenix, AZ

#6 Jul 8, 2007
Allen wrote:
Kate, I am sorry for the loss of your church member. We prayed for her on the river side while CPR was being administered and am now praying for the comfort for her friends and family. It was simply time for her to go home to Jesus. While I am not the one who said that she should not have been on the river, I will tell you that it was running high enough (between 1,000 & 1,100cfs) on Thursday that we had to portage around the Pine Creek hole. It was definetly a self rescue type of day that required a good swimmer in the event of a spill.
I was on the Nova trip that did the Pine Creek/Numbers trip on this date. I was not in the group with the rafts that turned, but was in the group behind them that did both the Pine Creek and Numbers sections and ultimately, came across the accident down stream. Sadly, the woman who passed was in Beaver Creek attending a wedding. I believe the woman who is apparently in serious condition in Denver and the younger person were not part of the wedding party. We did Pine Creek on this day and did not portage around it. The portages were apparently as a result of a rescue rope that had been lodged in the river. The rope was recovered before we made the run. During our run, two boats ran. The first (from which 4 guests were not allowed to run based upon safety concerns) did not succeed and the two guests on board were thrown from the raft (shaken but okay). Our run was successful. The Nova guides were excellent. Whatever I heard about what happened is hearsay and I will not say more as I was not present. But paddling Class IV rapids at 10,000 feet is demanding and the water is frigid. I am a conditioned person who was sucking air on the river that day and having been thrown in the water during the trip, can attest to the water's frigidity. None of this lessens the tragedy, but people must know their own limits. Again, my thoughts and prayers are out for the victims and their families.
Bob

Denver, CO

#8 Jul 9, 2007
Elyse wrote:
The woman who you think is "brain dead" died Friday evening in the Denver hospital. She was my beloved aunt. Her 14 year old daughter, Jane, and their friends survived.
<quoted text>
I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. My son was the one who jumped into the river and got your aunt out down stream. We are saddened to hear about her death. We have been praying for her and will continue to pray for her family.
Elyse

Maspeth, NY

#9 Jul 9, 2007
Thank you so much. I have been asking how she got out of the water, so this information is very appreciated.
Bob

Denver, CO

#10 Jul 9, 2007
Elyse wrote:
Thank you so much. I have been asking how she got out of the water, so this information is very appreciated.
My son and I would like to know her first name. If that is okay? I feel so sorry that Jane has lost her mother.
Allen

Tucson, AZ

#11 Jul 9, 2007
Elyse, I am not sure that my posting earlier in the day was actually posted, so I thought I'd try again. I wanted you to know how brave Jane was. While drifting in and out of consciousness and being incoherent much of the time, she expressed concern about her Mom, her group as well as Lynn (the other woman who died on the scene). We did our best to keep Jane awake and still to avoid shock and possibilities for further spinal injury since she complained of neck and head pain. My daughter (who on the trip with us) and I are praying for her comfort in this trying time. It is hopefully provides a bit of peace knowing that it was a beautiful day during which Bea was surely enjoying herself. Not the worst way to meet her maker. God bless you and your family.
Elyse wrote:
Thank you so much. I have been asking how she got out of the water, so this information is very appreciated.
Ursula

Colorado Springs, CO

#12 Jul 9, 2007
Dear All,
I was the person who pulled Lynn out of the river on Thursday afternoon. I was guiding a rock climbing trip with a couple from Denver, Candace and Dave. We were walking to the south side of the rock face, getting there by walking on the dirt road along the river. We noticed 2 people floating down river (which I now know were Jane and the red haired woman). At first I thought it was raft guides training because we did not see a boat or paddles. Once they passed below us (we were higher up on the road) we saw 2 paddles coming down the river and realized that there must have been an accident. We could not get to them because they had already passed the area of the river we were standing above. We then looked up river again and noticed another person floating downriver. I was able to get down to the river in time before the person (Lynn) floated by. I pulled her into an eddy, where Dave and I opened Lynn's airway to try to get her air, and once were able to get air into her, began CPR. We flagged down rafts that came a few minutes later and their guides helped us get Lynn on shore and they then continued to do CPR. Dave and I went down river a little ways to help Jane. There was a raft guide from another company and a passenger and myself who stayed with Jane, trying to keep her warm and talking to her. There was also a gentleman who was on Jane's boat who made his way down to check on her and he also tried to comfort her. She asked about her mother; the woman,(Lynn) whom she said she tried to grab in the water from her boat; and she asked about the lady who was floating down river and helping her stay afloat.(I believe it was the lady with red hair).
I am so sorry to hear that Jane's mother passed. My prayers have been with all of you who have been affected by such a tragedy.
Leigh Ann

Edinburg, TX

#13 Jul 10, 2007
was on the AVA raft with those who pulled the daughter, Jane, from the river and then went on to assist in the rescue of the other woman, Bea. I send my deepest condolences.

If anyone is in contact with Jane, I would just like to assure her that all involved did their best to save her mother. Those not directly involved in the CPR were praying or assisting in carrying equipment. Her mother was not alone. I, along with another girl, held her mother's hand much of the time, and a man worked hard to keep her feet warm.

Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Karen

New Britain, CT

#14 Jul 10, 2007
Bea's memorial service and burial were held today in NYC. Jane was the last of several speakers. She stood before approx. 300 people and read aloud a letter that she had written to her mother. Jane's voice carried over the crowd strongly and with great pride. I doubt that there was a dry eye in the room by the time she was finished. It was obvious to all that Jane showed great courage today, as well as on the river last Thursday.
kate

Austin, TX

#15 Jul 10, 2007
Allen wrote:
Kate, I am sorry for the loss of your church member. We prayed for her on the river side while CPR was being administered and am now praying for the comfort for her friends and family. It was simply time for her to go home to Jesus. While I am not the one who said that she should not have been on the river, I will tell you that it was running high enough (between 1,000 & 1,100cfs) on Thursday that we had to portage around the Pine Creek hole. It was definetly a self rescue type of day that required a good swimmer in the event of a spill.
thanks to all of you, wildaz, ursala, etc. for providing a picture of what went on. i am amazed at how brave and heroic so many ordinary people became when face with this challenge. lynn had overcome a huge challenge in her life-a brain anurysm. she was considered to be completely recovered and was going to play the harp for a wedding. but now i understand that with the water running that fast, and a flipped raft with so many people in the water, no matter how good the guides are, and how helpful and strong the other passengers and bystanders are, we should not take this sport for granted. we whould all have the ability to save ourselves. thank you all for being with our friend lynn, and the other victims, and those who were horrified by witnessing this. May the Lord bring you comfort and strenght and peace.
JoMarie New York

AOL

#16 Jul 11, 2007
I have been trying to piece together this whole tragic accident in my mind, I guess for my own comfort. But as I read on and on, searching for answers, I can see it was just a mass of confusion that day ...However, I want you to know, it gives me great comfort to learn that my dear friend Bea was not alone, and that someone like you, was there to hold her hand. Thank you very much for trying and may God Bless you.
Leigh Ann wrote:
was on the AVA raft with those who pulled the daughter, Jane, from the river and then went on to assist in the rescue of the other woman, Bea. I send my deepest condolences.
If anyone is in contact with Jane, I would just like to assure her that all involved did their best to save her mother. Those not directly involved in the CPR were praying or assisting in carrying equipment. Her mother was not alone. I, along with another girl, held her mother's hand much of the time, and a man worked hard to keep her feet warm.
Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.
Peggy

Denver, CO

#17 Jul 11, 2007
Ok, I just can't get this whole series of events out of my mind - the images and memories keep replaying in my mind's eye. I will try to recount what happened on the Arkansas river that day based off my own observations and by piecing together what my family experienced. I hope this will help those of you who desire details and just more information regarding Bea. My 17 year old son and husband pulled her out of the river about a half mile south of our vacation property. Our involvement all began when my sister and I walked up the road beside the river to let our kids do some rock climbing. We positioned ourselves on some rocks above the river so we could watch the kids climb a rock area across the street. My sister suddenly noticed two people floating down the river without their paddles and with no raft in sight. When she heard the girl yell "swim mom!" she realized the two were in trouble and my two older nieces rushed back to our vacation cabin to notify my husband and brother to go out to the river and see if they could intercept the rafter(s).(Meanwhile the one rafter, Jane had actually been retrieved just about 30 yards down from where we were sitting and CPR had begun on Lynn.) When my brother caught sight of Bea floating along and approaching our property he threw a rope out for her to grab, but she was unresponsive. He said she actually looked rather peaceful. She was floating face up, feet first and had both arms crossed over her chest. Next my brother, my husband,my 17 year old son and my two nieces ran to our parked van and proceeded to drive down the road to locate an area where they might be able to intercept Bea again before she got too far. As soon as they found a somewhat safe area to pull off and access the river my son jumped out, worked his way down the rocks to the side of the river and swam out to a boulder near the middle of the river. When he caught sight of Bea approaching him he jumped off the boulder, grabbed hold of her and somehow managed to get her through some rapids and to the side of the river. My husband pulled her out of the water and my niece checked for vitals and initiated CPR. After about 3 minutes or so another raft was able to pull off to the side and they took over with the CPR until an amubulance arrived about 5 minutes later. My brother was the one who tried to keep her legs elevated and rubbed her feet in an effort to restore circulation. My niece stayed by her side and held her hand. Bea was not alone and was cared for and prayed for continually. We were devastated when we heard on Monday that she didn't make it. Our prayers and thoughts have been with her family and friends continually. This tragedy to a complete stranger has imapcted us strongly and her family and friends will be permanently on our prayer list. We can sense that Bea and Lynn were wonderful women and loved by many. We also sensed that God was indeed on that river and worked through all the circumstances and gave my son discernment and strength that only God can give. We'll always wonder why He let this happen to Bea and Lynn, but July 5th was the day God chose to take them home. God is the only one who can deliver peace in a situation like this; a peace that surpasses all understanding.
I hope that some of these details can help those of you who needed more info. and/or closure etc. This is as accurate as I could gather.
Jane

Maspeth, NY

#18 Jul 12, 2007
I just wanted to thank all of you kind hearted, ordinary hero's who helped save my life. I truely appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and I will carry you all in my heart forever.
Thank you forever,
Jane
Elyse

Virginia Beach, VA

#19 Jul 12, 2007
Thank you for taking the time to write about this incident. Thank you for what you did to try to save her and all of your prayers mean a great deal. Thank you.
susan westchester

Brooklyn, NY

#20 Jul 12, 2007
In reading these comments, I can not help but remember a full of life woman, with a spark and vitality that was visible to all. To the entire community of family and friends ,I offer my dearest sorrow.
Allen

Tucson, AZ

#21 Jul 12, 2007
Thank you Peggy for sharing your efforts and details of this tradegy. I was also heart broken for Jane and her family and friends that Bea had died. On the other hand, I was thrilled with the hope that she was in Heaven. You definetly helped fill in some of the blanks. My daughter and are praying for the comfort of the families and all involved that as you say only God can provide. God Bless you Peggy for taking the time to provide this information. Any other perteninent information is really appreciated to hopefully prevent future accidents.
Allen

Tucson, AZ

#22 Jul 12, 2007
No thanks needed Jane and we are not really heros at all. We acted no differently than you did when you tried to help Lynn. That was really brave of you. All Dave, Ursla, the Guide and I did was to keep you awake, calm, warm and still. Lots of prayers were being said for you and all involved. My hope is your loss will bring you closer to the Lord that you already may be. Keep the faith. Thanks for your kind reply.
Jane wrote:
I just wanted to thank all of you kind hearted, ordinary hero's who helped save my life. I truely appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and I will carry you all in my heart forever.
Thank you forever,
Jane
Marie

AOL

#23 Jul 15, 2007
I still can't figure out why some could get to shore and why others could not...does anyone have an answer for that? Why could Bea not get to shore like everyone else? Why do you think Bea did not make it?
Audrey Matson

Brooklyn, NY

#24 Jul 16, 2007
I was so glad to hear that my friend Bea was cared for and prayed for. It is nice to know that there are so many kind people in this world.

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