The Ocoee River in Southeast Tennessee is one of the world’s most popular whitewater rafting rivers. Welcome to Ocoee Rafting! Brockman said McGruder and Luna were both wearing life vests and helmets. Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. As the oldest company on the Ocoee River, we have provided guided whitewater rafting adventures for 44 years. "It's a freak accident, two times in 24 hours," he said. 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. 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. April – This is a great time for Ocoee River rafting.The air temperatures range 60s to 80s. The rafting industry on the Ocoee employs 622 people and generates $43.83 million in economic activity each year, according to the UT study. The girl's leg got caught in a rescue rope. All rights reserved. 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. "We probably had more high water this year than I can ever remember, and I've been around 30 years," he said. [She] has passed away and had her loving family by her side. HOME; RAFTING. 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. Located in the Cherokee National Forest the river provides continuous whitewater excitement with class III and IV rapids scattered down its entire length. 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. "We're still in the investigation process, and it could take a few weeks," she said. About 4,700 people rafted the river Saturday, Gilliam said. "It's very seldom that we have accidents like this, and to have two in the same weekend is absolutely unbelievable.". On Sunday the flow was slightly less, at 2,200 to 2,500 cubic feet per second. Explore the mighty Olympic Ocoee River with Ocoee Outdoors, the #1 Ocoee River Rafting Company since 1977. Rossville man arrested over nude pics intended for Hollywood star, Letter stymies payday empire of Chattanooga's Carey Brown. 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. Tennessee’s most experienced outfitter, Ocoee Outdoors will guide you through almost continuous class III – IV whitewater excitement from beginning to end. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP. This is the whole enchilada of the Ocoee rafting world! 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. BENTON, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say two women have died in two days while rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. McGruder grabbed a rescue rope but lost consciousness before she could be pulled to safety. Ocoee Rafting. 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. Two people died in 2011, the first fatalities in six years. Welcome to r/whitewater! Culminating with a run through the Upper section’s most famous rapid, Humongous. "Commercial traffic did not stop," she said. Rafting 5 days a week, Thursday through Monday. From beginning to end, the Ocoee river will get you soaked, smiling and laughing. A web page says the family had the difficult decision of taking the 15-year-old off life support. If you are rafting the Ocoee River our outpost address is: 225 Industrial Driver Ducktown, TN 37326. 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. The water is warming up with Ocoee River water temperatures in the mid to upper 50s. Contact Mark Pace at mpace@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. And while some adventurers, like Hookway, opted to skip "Grumpy's," several companies were again running rafts through that rapid. Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. Share; ocoee rafting / ocoee river / ocoee river rafting … Wildwater offers fully-guided half day trips on both sections of the river, as well as a full-day combo trip. "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." At the time of the accident Saturday, the water was flowing between 2,300 and 2,600 cubic feet per second, according to TVA. The Ocoee Whitewater Rafting Full River Trip Best Rafting Trip in the Southeast. The two raised that total to eight. 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. 17 votes, 12 comments. Known for its big waves, warm water and continuous action. She has been identified as 15-years-old Yari Hernandez from Leesburg, Florida. Copyright © 2020, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. 15.4k members in the whitewater community. "They pull certificates and they look at the waivers that were signed and that kind of stuff.". Online reservations are available or give us a call. 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. 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. 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 Ocoee served as host for the kayaking and canoeing events during the 1996 Summer Olympics. A teenage girl who fell into the Ocoee River in Polk County, Tennessee while rafting last Sunday has died. 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. In other words, there is one death for every 250,000 to 400,000 "person visits" of whitewater rafting. The Middle Ocoee contains Level III rapids, which require strong intermediate skills, according to American Whitewater. The deaths over the weekend are the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. The rapids are categorized as Class III, but Mickey’s is Class IV. This is not the first time it's been at that level.". 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 … "Both of the guys this weekend were very good raft guys," he said. There have been grief counselors to help the other children on the trip, according to one mother of a student on the trip. Carnage Video featuring clips of white water rafting on the Upper Ocoee, Middle Ocoee and Olympic Section. - See 2,720 traveler reviews, 1,204 candid photos, and great deals for Ocoee, TN, at Tripadvisor. 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. The different levels of river rafting on the Ocoee mean just about anyone can take part in an exhilarating experience! 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. Is there lodging near the Ocoee River? 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. This subreddit is a place to discuss anything and … Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip waiver forms for whitewater rafting with Ocoee Adventure center. Classifying rivers is not an exact science but can give you a pretty good idea of what to expect on your adventure. The decision was made Monday, according to the church members. Stan Guy had grown up on the Ocoee and was a guide for the Sunburst Rafting Company in Benton. "That's more important than the loss of business. Keith Jenkins, owner of Quest Expeditions, agreed that the river has been high all summer. She tailored the trip to our desires both having fun on the river and making sure we were safely rafting." Neither these AP materials nor any portion thereof may be stored in a computer except for personal and noncommercial use. 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. The advice below is based on their experiences. 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. Our goal is to provide a 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. The deaths over the weekend are the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. The river was full of rafters again Monday, a day after Luna died. A day later, Luna fell out of her raft with several other people when the raft was caught in the same rapid. Copyright © 2020, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Inc. A 23-year-old rafting guide drowned Saturday on the Ocoee River while trying to rescue some passengers. UPDATE: The Polk County Sheriff's Office has released the name of the 25-year-old who drowned in the Ocoee River. "But now, I'll just avoid it. I don't want to be the third one.". 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. 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. "I can't quote years of experience, but I know one of them has been around since the 1980s.". The teenager's death this weekend occurred on the more heavily trafficked middle section of the river. Our Upper Only Ocoee River trip offers 5 miles class III and IV whitewater. 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. The Ocoee River is America's most-traveled commercial paddling river. 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. "Hannah was the perfect guide for us as a family of 3! Their deaths were the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. 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. Check out our Find Us page. A dad is fighting for his life after a white water rafting accident left him hospitalised. Update July 25, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.: A family member of the victim confirmed the girl was 15 years old. She was rushed to Erlanger Medical Center and had been in critical condition on life support.Â, "[The girl's] family decided to take her off life support," an update on the page read. "There was too much swelling in her brain and nothing more the doctors could do. More than 300,000 people go every year. "We've been rafting on that same amount of water all summer. A reference to the friend and rafting outfitter listing her age as 16 has been removed. It did spike on them, which was unusual.". On Saturday, McGruder and another women fell out of their raft around 11:30 a.m., according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. "Our pressing concern right now is looking at what happened and what took place," he said. 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 Middle Ocoee River is half a day of Tennessee white water rafting fun for individuals, families, and groups. 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. One experienced rafting guide says the river was flowing too fast when two women were killed this weekend after their rafts overturned. Choose from 2 of our exciting Ocoee based rafting trips near Chattanooga, Knoxville and Ducktown, TN. 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. Man shocked while painting Wednesday at Pilgrim's Pride, Justice Department puts Big Tech under the antitrust microscope. Ocoee River whitewater rafting trip waiver forms for whitewater rafting with Ocoee Adventure center. Gilliam didn't think high water flow affected the guides involved in the accident, who he said were very experienced. "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. McGruder and Luna bump that up to eight. You can expect classic drops and big water rapids. High Country Adventures: Guide fozzy at high country rafting! And regardless of the official safe water level, the final decision on whether to raft is made by each trip leader, Gilliam said. One woman was pulled back on board. 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. Grace Hookway kayaked the Ocoee River on Monday, but she skipped the first major rapid in the Middle Ocoee. 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. We’ll be following CDC and U.S. Coast Guard guidelines on all our trips and facilities. 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. HOME; RAFTING. Including a run through the 1996 Olympic Whitewater Course. If you are rafting the Nantahala River our outpost address is: 715 US Hwy 19 Topton, NC 28781. 2 rafting deaths in 2 days on Ocoee River in Tenn. Home 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. The girl's death is the fourth on the Ocoee this year, making 2019 an unusually deadly year. 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. ", Two people from her church confirmed the information.Â. White Water Rafting Tennessee *Coronavirus, Covid-19 Update – Summer rafting season on the Ocoee River has returned. Furthermore, about 30% of those deaths come from heart conditions or heart attacks. High Country Adventures did not return a request for comment, and Sunburst Adventures declined to comment. Commercial rafters have to get off the water at 3,000 cubic feet per second. "It's not that they weren't experienced on high water. All rights reserved. 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. "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. McGruder was rafting with High Country Adventures, and Luna was on the river with Sunburst Adventures. 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. Ocoee whitewater with NOC is Tennessee rafting at its best. 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. Before that, the previous drowning came in 2013 when two women died about 24 hours apart. His friends tried to rescue him but were not able to get him out of the water. 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. 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. This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast. 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. 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. She was with her church youth group when she fell off the raft and into the river… She confirmed that TVA never made that call. A 15-year-old girl who was in a rafting accident on the Ocoee River on Sunday has died. 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