Authorities have identified the woman who died in a guided fishing incident Tuesday on the Snake River as Debra Jean Ayer-Harty, of Fairhope, Alabama.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said Wednesday that Ayer-Harty’s “cause and manner of death are still pending.” She was 65 years old.
Ayer-Harty, another tourist and a fishing guide were in a drift boat about 3 1/2 miles upstream from the South Park boat ramp when their boat tipped at an eddy line, “began to take on water and kind of overturned,” said Cody Lockhart, Teton County Search and Rescue chief advisor.
“[The boat] hit a little whirlypool, and it was enough to suck the side under a little bit where it would take on water,” Lockhart said.
The county’s swiftwater rescue team and medics received the call at 12:17 p.m. Tuesday. Emergency responders were able to reach the woman by 12:58 p.m. and began CPR, according to a Search and Rescue press release.
Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr said Tuesday that the rescue personnel were able to access the scene “both by land and by river, so we had our team and medics on the scene pretty quickly.”
Lockhart said medical personnel, including an emergency room doctor, tried to revive the woman for about an hour but were unsuccessful.
“Significant resources were there in a timely manner — SAR and Fire/EMS — but we weren’t able to get her heart back,” Lockhart said. “We worked it for a while.”
The two other people in the boat were able to swim safely to shore and were not injured. Sheriff Carr said Wednesday that the other tourist in the boat was a male family member, but not Ayer-Harty’s husband.
The guide is a “longtime local fishing guide,” according to Lockhart.
The sheriff said both Tuesday and Wednesday that whether the woman or other two people in the boat were wearing personal floatation devices is still under investigation.
“This incident serves as a tragic reminder that accidents on the river can happen at any time, and often occur quickly with severe consequences,” Search and Rescue officials wrote in a statement Tuesday.