published Sunday, August 25th, 2013

Emergency crews respond to second fatality on Ocoee River in two days

  • photo
    Rafters take to the Ocoee River rapids in Polk County in this file photo.
    Photo by Tracey Trumbull /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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The Ocoee River claimed another life Sunday, the second in two days at the popular commercial rafting venue and former Olympic whitewater course.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said a woman from Smyrna, Tenn., died after her party’s raft became stuck in the first rapid below Ocoee Dam No. 2. It was in the same area that an Atlanta woman died almost exactly 24 hours earlier, authorities said.

According to information from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, both women were tossed from their rafts after encountering steep drops on the rapid called “Grumpy’s,” which stretches about 100 yards below the dam.

Saturday’s victim, a 45- to 50-year-old woman, was among two ejected from the raft. One rider was brought back aboard. The victim was able to grab onto a rescue rope and hold on while rescuers attempted to tug her to safety, but lost consciousness just before reaching the shore.

On Sunday, the Smyrna woman was among several people thrown from the raft in the rapid. While her friends and family were safe, she was not able to reach the riverbank. When rescuers brought her ashore, on-scene CPR was ineffective.

Both women were taken to the Copper Basin Medical Center in Copperhill, where they were later pronounced dead. Neither woman’s name was released Sunday.

The sheriff’s office could not confirm if the two victims were customers of the same rafting company. Outfitters contacted Sunday said they had no comment about the fatal incidents.

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