2 rafting deaths in 2 days on Ocoee River

10:20 PM, Aug 26, 2013   |    comments
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The investigation continues into two separate deaths on the Ocoee River over the weekend.

A river guide says they're the first fatalities on the Middle Ocoee in almost 15 years.

Both women were rafting when they fell or were thrown into the rapids.

Once the river reaches a certain rate of flow, TVA makes a recommendation to slow it  down. That didn't happen this weekend, because TVA says the rate of water flowing per second was at a safe level.

Authorities have now released both women's names.

The woman who died Saturday was 51-year-old Marnita McGruder from Georgia. Katherine Tyler Luna, 36, from Smyrna, Tenn., was killed in the river Sunday.

Update 12:52 p.m.

Written by Adam Tamburin, The Tennessean

Police have identified the 36-year-old Smyrna woman who died Sunday after falling into the Ocoee River.

Katherine Tyler Luna had been rafting with family and friends when she fell, according to Tennessee Department of Environment spokeswoman Kelly Brockman. Luna was removed from the water and taken to a nearby hospital.Update 12:52 p.m.

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State officials are still investigating after two women, including one from Smyrna, died while rafting on the Ocoee River this weekend.

"This is not a normal occasion," Tennessee Department of Environment spokeswoman Kelly Brockman said.

TDEC is investigating the deaths along with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, she said.

A 36-year-old Smyrna woman fell into the Ocoee River at about 11:45 a.m. Sunday while rafting with friends and family, according to TDEC spokeswoman Kelly Brockman.

TDEC had not released the woman's name Sunday evening, but Brockman said more information would be released Monday.

The Smyrna woman was pulled to shore by two kayakers, given CPR and taken to the hospital before she was declared dead, Brockman said.

The incident took place in the Grumpy's rapid area, Brockman said, the same place another woman fell into the water Saturday. That woman also died.

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BENTON, Tenn. (AP) - Authorities say two women have died while rafting on the Ocoee River in separate incidents in two days.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports the first death happened Saturday when a woman who was rafting with two friends was thrown overboard in rapids. The release says the woman was from Atlanta, but it didn't identify her.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told WRCB-TV that another woman fell out of a raft on Sunday morning. Officials didn't release her name, but said she was from Smyrna, Tenn.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported after the first incident that the Tennessee Valley Authority was reviewing the river's flow and height at the time of the incident.

TVA controls the amount of water in the river with three dams.











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