"We've been rafting on that same amount of water all summer. 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. It did spike on them, which was unusual.". "Commercial traffic did not stop," she said. She was with her church youth group when she fell off the raft and into the river… Tennessee’s most experienced outfitter, Ocoee Outdoors will guide you through almost continuous class III – IV whitewater excitement from beginning to end. 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. 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. I don't want to be the third one.". A 15-year-old girl who was in a rafting accident on the Ocoee River on Sunday has died. Classifying rivers is not an exact science but can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect on your adventure. Our goal is to provide a safe trip.". Commercial rafters have to get off the water at 3,000 cubic feet per second. She has been identified as 15-years-old Yari Hernandez from Leesburg, Florida. The Ocoee served as host for the kayaking and canoeing events during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Ocoee whitewater with NOC is Tennessee rafting at its best. Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. The Middle Ocoee River is half a day of Tennessee white water rafting fun for individuals, families, and groups. 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. "It's not that they weren't experienced on high water. 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. All rights reserved. Copyright © 2020, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. Choose from 2 of our exciting Ocoee based rafting trips near Chattanooga, Knoxville and Ducktown, TN. The rapids are categorized as Class III, but Mickey’s is Class IV. "We probably had more high water this year than I can ever remember, and I've been around 30 years," he said. A dad is fighting for his life after a white water rafting accident left him hospitalised. If you are rafting the Ocoee River our outpost address is: 225 Industrial Driver Ducktown, TN 37326. 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. The rafting industry on the Ocoee employs 622 people and generates $43.83 million in economic activity each year, according to the UT study. "We're still in the investigation process, and it could take a few weeks," she said. 17 votes, 12 comments. The Ocoee River in Southeast Tennessee is one of the world’s most popular whitewater rafting rivers. BENTON, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say two women have died in two days while rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. The deaths over the weekend are the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. This is the whole enchilada of the Ocoee rafting world! Welcome to r/whitewater! Including a run through the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Course. 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. "They pull certificates and they look at the waivers that were signed and that kind of stuff.". You can expect classic drops and big water rapids. Update July 25, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.: A family member of the victim confirmed the girl was 15 years old. This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. Material from the Associated Press is Copyright © 2020, Associated Press and may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. And regardless of the official safe water level, the final decision on whether to raft is made by each trip leader, Gilliam said. The Ocoee River is America's most-traveled commercial paddling river. Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip waiver forms for whitewater rafting with Ocoee Adventure center. HOME; RAFTING. This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast. We’ll be following CDC and U.S. Coast Guard guidelines on all our trips and facilities. 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. 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. Known for its big waves, warm water and continuous action. The advice below is based on their experiences. Carnage Video featuring clips of white water rafting on the Upper Ocoee, Middle Ocoee and Olympic Section. The teenage girl who fell off a raft 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. "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. A teenage girl who fell into the Ocoee River in Polk County, Tennessee while rafting last Sunday has died. About 4,700 people rafted the river Saturday, Gilliam said. 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. "It's very seldom that we have accidents like this, and to have two in the same weekend is absolutely unbelievable.". And while some adventurers, like Hookway, opted to skip "Grumpy's," several companies were again running rafts through that rapid. - See 2,720 traveler reviews, 1,204 candid photos, and great deals for Ocoee, TN, at Tripadvisor. High Country Adventures: Guide fozzy at high country rafting! Welcome to Ocoee Rafting! "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." 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. Furthermore, about 30% of those deaths come from heart conditions or heart attacks. Ocoee Rafting. 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. 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 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. A 23-year-old rafting guide drowned Saturday on the Ocoee River while trying to rescue some passengers. Rafting 5 days a week, Thursday through Monday. 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. Rossville man arrested over nude pics intended for Hollywood star, Letter stymies payday empire of Chattanooga's Carey Brown. 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. 15.4k members in the whitewater community. A web page says the family had the difficult decision of taking the 15-year-old off life support. The water is warming up with Ocoee River water temperatures in the mid to upper 50s. Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip waiver forms for whitewater rafting with Ocoee Adventure center. 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. In other words, there is one death for every 250,000 to 400,000 "person visits" of whitewater rafting. Before that, the previous drowning came in 2013 when two women died about 24 hours apart. One experienced rafting guide says the river was flowing too fast when two women were killed this weekend after their rafts overturned. 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. "I can't quote years of experience, but I know one of them has been around since the 1980s.". The girl's leg got caught in a rescue rope. Their deaths were the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. 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. "That's more important than the loss of business. A reference to the friend and rafting outfitter listing her age as 16 has been removed. White Water Rafting Tennessee *Coronavirus, Covid-19 Update – Summer rafting season on the Ocoee River has returned. Explore the mighty Olympic Ocoee River with Ocoee Outdoors, the #1 Ocoee River Rafting Company since 1977. Keith Jenkins, owner of Quest Expeditions, agreed that the river has been high all summer. The river was full of rafters again Monday, a day after Luna died. The Ocoee Whitewater Rafting Full River Trip Best Rafting Trip in the Southeast. 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. McGruder was rafting with High Country Adventures, and Luna was on the river with Sunburst Adventures. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. One woman was pulled back on board. Brockman said McGruder and Luna were both wearing life vests and helmets. All rights reserved. If you are rafting the Nantahala River our outpost address is: 715 US Hwy 19 Topton, NC 28781. 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 … Copyright © 2020, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. 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. At the time of the accident Saturday, the water was flowing between 2,300 and 2,600 cubic feet per second, according to TVA. 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. Wildwater offers fully-guided half day trips on both sections of the river, as well as a full-day combo trip. Online reservations are available or give us a call. She tailored the trip to our desires both having fun on the river and making sure we were safely rafting." ", Two people from her church confirmed the information.Â. "Our pressing concern right now is looking at what happened and what took place," he said. More than 300,000 people go every year. April – This is a great time for Ocoee River rafting.The air temperatures range 60s to 80s. On Sunday the flow was slightly less, at 2,200 to 2,500 cubic feet per second. 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. Share; ocoee rafting / ocoee river / ocoee river rafting … 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. 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. Contact Mark Pace at mpace@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. Is there lodging near the Ocoee River? As the oldest company on the Ocoee River, we have provided guided whitewater rafting adventures for 44 years. There have been grief counselors to help the other children on the trip, according to one mother of a student on the trip. 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. HOME; RAFTING. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP. McGruder and Luna bump that up to eight. His friends tried to rescue him but were not able to get him out of the water. Grace Hookway kayaked the Ocoee River on Monday, but she skipped the first major rapid in the Middle Ocoee. [She] has passed away and had her loving family by her side. 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. A day later, Luna fell out of her raft with several other people when the raft was caught in the same rapid. Guys this weekend after their rafts overturned stored in a computer except for personal noncommercial! 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