UPDATE: Rafter Dies on Gauley River

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

The National Park Service has released the name of a woman who drowned in a whitewater rafting accident on the Gauley River over the weekend.

New River Gorge National River Ranger Frank Sellers identified the woman as 51-year-old Pat Bortner of Bristol, Indiana.

Sellers says Bortner fell out of a raft Saturday and was pinned underwater against a rock. Her body was recovered after about four hours.

The accident occurred near a rapid known as Iron Ring, which Sellers describes as one of a number of challenging rapids on the Gauley.
Len Hanger of Songer Whitewater, the rafting company that guided the trip, says the river was not excessively high or low for a summer day. He says the Gauley typically runs significantly faster and deeper in the fall.
Hanger and Sellers both said the drowning is believed to be the first on the popular whitewater stream this year.
The accident is still under investigation by the park service and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.


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