A 67-year-old woman died on the Snake River shortly after noon Tuesday in a guided fishing accident when the drift boat she and two other people were in tipped at an eddyline, “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.
Lockhart said the woman was not from Jackson and was in the boat with a fellow tourist and a “longtime local fishing guide.” The guide and other person in the boat were able to swim to safety and were uninjured, Lockhart added.
Whether the woman or any of the others in the boat were wearing personal floatation devices at the time of the incident “is under investigation,” Teton County Sheriff Matt Carr said.
A swiftwater rescue team and medics were called to the scene at 12:17 p.m., Carr said. He added 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.” A press release from Teton County Search and Rescue said first responders were able to reach the woman at 12:58 p.m. about 3 1/2 miles upstream from the South Park boat ramp.
“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. Like, they worked it for a significant amount of time” using CPR to try to revive her. He added that an emergency room doctor was among first responders at the scene near South Park.
Carr said at about 3:20 p.m. that next-of-kin were being notified.
The woman’s identity will not be available until notification of next-of-kin is completed, which could be Wednesday or even later in the week, Carr said.
“This incident serves as a tragic reminder that accidents on the river can happen at any time, and often occur quickly with severe consequences. TCSAR offers its most sincere condolences to the family and friends impacted by this accident,” Search and Rescue officials wrote in a statement.