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. Brooks said he did not know whether the flume at Ocoee 2 was operating Saturday morning, carrying some water to generate power instead of channeling it into the river. With an average flow level between 1200 and 1800 cubic feet per second and a section between the wooden diversion dam to Ocoee … By Shelly Bradbury, Chattanooga Times Free Press. 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. At the time of the accident Saturday, the water was flowing between 2,300 and 2,600 cubic feet per second, according to TVA. this whole river deserves respect," said Cole Henderson, an experienced kayaker. American Whitewater is coordinating with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service to bring flows back to Piru Creek below Pyramid Lake. Both ladies one very overweight, One with High Country Outfitters the one today with sunburst. One experienced rafting guide says the river was flowing too fast when two women were killed this weekend after their rafts overturned. Terms of Service. On Saturday, McGruder and another women fell out of their raft around 11:30 a.m., according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Whitewater Grill. Since 1976, Ocoee Rafting has welcomed many to miles of … A class 4 rapid took 2 lives this weekend. Yesterday, when the first death occurred yesterday, the water level, I was an eyewitness to that death, the water level was over 3,000. A little over a year ago American Whitewater … "We're still in the investigation process, and it could take a few weeks," she said. "They pull certificates and they look at the waivers that were signed and that kind of stuff.". The Middle … I don't want to be the third one.". great deal of media attention. The CFS rose by nearly 1,000 cubic feet per second during the time of Saturday's fatal run. "We've been rafting on that same amount of water all summer. A 1,640 foot (500 m) stretch of the Upper Ocoee … Ocoee whitewater with NOC is Tennessee rafting at its best. American Whitewater made the first, very successful effort to build a coalition of a wide array of stakeholders by hosting the Ocoee Symposium at the Olympic Whitewater Center on Friday, May 18th, during the U.S.A. Canoe and Kayak team trials, and immediately prior to the Ocoee … Two deaths in two days on the Ocoee both at put in rapid (Grumpies) One at 3100 cfs one at 3800 cfs, Raft trips are suppose to cut off at 3000. Led by our highly trained and fun-loving guides to … The river was full of rafters again Monday, a day after Luna died. Day Time (Eastern) Average Hourly Discharge* 8/25/2013 2 pm 1,912 8/25/2013 3 pm 1,944 8/25/2013 4 pm 2,542 8/25/2013 5 pm 2,237 8/25/2013 6 pm 1,904 8/25/2013 7 pm 1,837 8/25/2013 8 pm 1,756 TEXT ATTACHMENTS, TVA Investigating Water Flow After Ocoee River Deaths. 1993 Kayak Freestyle Worl Champoinships Ocoee … ", Keith Jenkins, owner of Quest Expeditions, agreed that the river has been high all summer. The Ocoee River offers two different sections of the river, the Upper Ocoee and the Middle Ocoee. 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. Contact staff writer Shelly Bradbury at sbradbury@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6525. 3,000 cubic feet per second. "In my opinion, it was incompetence and negligence on TVA's part in the release of the water, and it's been going on all summer long and you're lucky this the first weekend this has happened," said Silver. 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. "It is a rapid to be very respected. "It's a freak accident, two times in 24 hours," he said. 172 reviews #4 of 8 Restaurants in Ocoee $ American. 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. Claimed. Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide. Save. 1999 Ocoee Rodeo at Smiley's The Upper Ocoee riverbed had remained dry … The Middle Ocoee contains Level III rapids, which require strong intermediate skills, according to American Whitewater. Ocoee Whitewater Rodeo 2000. "Our pressing concern right now is looking at what happened and what took place," he said. This is not the first time it's been at that level. The river is dam controlled at 3 levels creating 3 sections – the upper, … Below is Ocoee #2 Sunday flow beta from the TVA web site. She was brought ashore downstream and pronounced dead when emergency crews arrived around 11:30 a.m. Grace Hookway kayaked the Ocoee River on Monday, but she skipped the first major rapid in the Middle Ocoee. Brooks said if the river reaches the cut-off level, TVA contacts the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. While slalom kayakers vied for spots on the national team, it was their hip, freestyling cousins who made the biggest splash at the Ocoee... World Whitewater Rodeo Championships 1993. It's called Grumpy's rapid, and it's well-known in the rafting and kayaking world. The deaths over the weekend are the first on the river since 2011, when two people died on the Upper Ocoee. Choose from 2 of our exciting Ocoee … Meanwhile, authorities have not released the names of the two women that died. A table posted on TVA's website shows how fast the water was flowing out of the dam on Saturday. 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 … 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. "I know that we had some flows that were above normal for this time of year, and we're looking into that," he said. The dam was operating two generators. She confirmed that TVA never made that call. "We have a specific guide level where we would notify the rafting companies to pull people out of the river," he said. It was the first time since 7 a.m. Thursday that discharge broke 3,000 cfs, according to TVA.org. Two women died while white-water rafting this weekend in the Ocoee River. Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman Scott Brooks said the river flow was higher than normal Saturday. Known for its big waves, warm water and continuous action. The Middle section is considered to be one of the best natural stretches of whitewater in the country, ranked one of America’s Top Ten Rivers for whitewater rafting.This family friendly, action packed … Terms of Service. High Country Adventures did not return a request for comment, and Sunburst Adventures declined to comment. "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. "I can confirm that that did not happen today." Earlier today American Whitewater filed comments on the Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) proposal to largely maintain the existing whitewater release schedule on both the upper and middle Ocoee River … According to newspaper archives, Saturday's death was the first since two rafters died within two weeks of each other in June on the Ocoee. The other was tossed a rescue rope bag and reportedly grabbed the rope but then lost consciousness. 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. McGruder was rafting with High Country Adventures, and Luna was on the river with Sunburst Adventures. The Canoe slalom events during the 1996 Summer Olympics were conducted on a half-mile Olympic whitewater course that is fed by releases of water from Ocoee #3. Start off your adventure with a bang, navigating five miles of class III and IV whitewater … "It's not that they weren't experienced on high water. 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. Our goal is to provide a safe trip.". On Sunday the flow was slightly less, at 2,200 to 2,500 cubic feet per second. Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide. About 4,700 people rafted the river Saturday, Gilliam said. The Ocoee is Southeast Tennessee’s iconic whitewater river and provides recreational opportunities for paddlers of all skill levels. According to a Polk County Sheriff's Office news release, the Atlanta woman, whose identity was not released, was rafting with family and friends below the Ocoee 2 Dam when the party's boat came upon a set of rapids called "Grumpy's." ", Brockman said McGruder and Luna were both wearing life vests and helmets. "We know what the water is running just by looking at it. Commercial rafters have to get off the water at 3,000 cubic feet per second. You are not permitted to complete this task. TVA controls how much water goes into the Ocoee River with three dams, Ocoee 1 Dam, Ocoee 2 Dam and Ocoee 3 Dam. Steve Lofty, chief of West Polk Fire and Rescue, said Saturday there is no way rafters would be on the river if it was running too high or fast. Ocoee whitewater rafting schedules vary based on the releases and are planned around the best and peak times to raft. ", And regardless of the official safe water level, the final decision on whether to raft is made by each trip leader, Gilliam said. Meanwhile, Jamie Silver says while families are mourning the loss of their loved ones that were taken by this river, he is fighting for answers. "It's very seldom that we have accidents like this, and to have two in the same weekend is absolutely unbelievable.". Share. Ocoee Whitewater Games. "We probably had more high water this year than I can ever remember, and I've been around 30 years," he said. during the U.S.A. Canoe and Kayak team trials, and immediately prior to the Ocoee Rodeo, ensuring a The trip was a bit of a whirlwind. "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. Polk County sheriff's officials could not confirm whether there were multiple incidents on the river Saturday. These great victories are the subject of his new book "Whitewater … TVA estimates the CFS during Sunday's fatality was less than 1,700. It didn't drop below 3,000 until 7 that night. Story ©2013, The Associated Press. 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. From 1980 to 1985 David Brown lead successful battles to secure recreational water releases on both the Ocoee and Gauley Rivers. Gilliam didn't think high water flow affected the guides involved in the accident, who he said were very experienced. Two women were thrown overboard, but one was pulled back into the raft. And while some adventurers, like Hookway, opted to skip "Grumpy's," several companies were again running rafts through that rapid. More than 300,000 visit the Ocoee each year. Brooks says the agency is investigating the conditions and the CFS estimates. 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 Ocoee has become one of the most popular whitewater rivers in the world, attracting over 250,000 visitors annually. Explore the mighty Olympic Ocoee River with Ocoee Outdoors, the #1 Ocoee River Rafting Company since 1977. As the oldest company on the Ocoee River, we have provided guided whitewater rafting adventures for 44 years. You’ll not only enjoy the thrill and excitement of America's favorite and most popular whitewater adventure, but you'll also enjoy a 1½ - 2 hour trip through the beautiful and dramatic Ocoee Gorge in the Cherokee National Forest. The 9.25 mile section of the Cheoah River, from Santeetlah Dam to Calderwood Lake Boat Launch, is … BENTON, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities say two women have died while rafting on the Ocoee River in separate incidents in two days. 1224 Highway 64, Ocoee, TN 37361-3408 +1 423-338-4400 Website Menu. 2 rafting deaths in 2 days on Ocoee River Associated Press. If you should be able to do this, please contact webmaster@americanwhitewater.org and tell them you need (LinkerGadget/show-edit). 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. "TDEC are the ones who make that call," he said. American Whitewater refers to the Ocoee, which hosted the Ocoee Rodeo in 1983, as "the birthplace of freestyle kayaking." 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. "I can't quote years of experience, but I know one of them has been around since the 1980s. 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 … A day later, Luna fell out of her raft with several other people when the raft was caught in the same rapid. 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 release says the woman was from Atlanta, but it didn't identify her. The Ocoee is well-known for its whitewater, but the lower Ocoee is the perfect venue for lazy afternoon flatwater paddling or tubing trips. "Commercial traffic did not stop," she said. Our highly trained guides will prep you and your crew about whitewater rafting technique and safety. From beginning to end, the Ocoee river will get you soaked, smiling and laughing. Atlanta woman dies in Ocoee rafting accident 51 year-old Marnita McGruder, from Rex, GA Timesfreepress.com by Alex Green An Atlanta woman died Saturday on the Ocoee River while rafting with a group, and TVA is looking at the river's flow and height at the time. All Rights Reserved. The rafting industry on the Ocoee employs 622 people and generates $43.83 million in economic activity each year, according to the UT study. Ocoee Outdoors has quite the fleet of buses to get you to and from the river. The latest happened Sunday morning around 11:40, the first incident was Saturday only 20 minutes earlier. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told WRCB-TV that another woman fell out of a raft on Sunday morning. ... 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s American Whitewater Boat Design canoe … Aug 11, 2016 - 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 … He also said the river did not reach the cut-off level Saturday. stakeholders by hosting the Ocoee Symposium at the Olympic Whitewater Center on Friday, May 18th, McGruder grabbed a rescue rope but lost consciousness before she could be pulled to safety. "If that river was too high, the state park would've shut it down in a heartbeat," he said. American Whitewater made the first, very successful effort to build a coalition of a wide array of "That number you see on there is the point past that where the flume comes back in, and that's the total flow, including the river and the flume," said Scott Brooks, a spokesperson for TVA. Set in the Cherokee National Forest, the Ocoee River flows through a beautiful mountain gorge, Your Ocoee Whitewater rafting trip will be like no other. Closes in 5 min: … That's how fast the water has to be flowing in to TVA's Dam 2 for authorities to issue a warning to outfitters to halt water activities. "Both of the guys this weekend were very good raft guys," he said. Whitewater Wars Tells how the Ocoee and Gauley Were Saved. The TVA controls the amount of water in the river with three dams. According to TVA's website, at 11 a.m. Sunday, 30 minutes before the incident, the Ocoee 2 Dam was discharging 3,245 cubic feet per second into the waterway. Aug 10, 2018 - 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 … The Middle Ocoee … It did spike on them, which was unusual. Mar 15, 2017 - American Whitewater is the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers throughout the United States and connects the interests of human-powered … McGruder and Luna bump that up to eight. One woman was pulled back on board. Learn more about the non-profit organization American Whitewater and how to become a member here. We flew into Nashville, rented a car and drove to Memphis for meetings, drove back to Nashville the following night, and then headed south to Ocoee … © 1999-2021 American Whitewater You may even decide you want to ride the Bull through Double Trouble. Welcome to Ocoee Rafting! Get the full Ocoee whitewater rafting experience with this epic all-day adventure. "That's more important than the loss of business. The two sections used for whitewater rafting on the Ocoee are the one-mile Olympic whitewater course released from Ocoee #3 and the “middle” a 4.5-mile whitewater … © 1999-2021 American Whitewater The Middle Ocoee is a virtually endless whitewater adventure from the moment you get in at Rogers Branch until the take-out point at Caney Creek. "But now, I'll just avoid it. The Ocoee Whitewater … Now, TVA investigators are looking into whether they should have issued a warning about how fast the river was flowing. From 1980 to 1985 David Brown lead successful battles to secure recreational water releases on both the Ocoee … Whitewater kayaking and rafting. The lower Ocoee spills out below Parksville lake, rolling quietly … Demo of big name professional paddlers competing in a yearly AWA event. News of the Sunday accident had already spread to Hell Hole when we pulled up at around 2pm to set shuttle. Tennessee’s most experienced outfitter, Ocoee Outdoors will guide you through almost continuous class III – IV whitewater … Officials didn't release her name, but said she was from Smyrna, Tenn. 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. And I know what 3,000 CFS looks like," said Jamie Silver, acting river manager at Adventures Unlimited. Whitewater Wars Tells how the Ocoee and Gauley Were Saved 10/15/2020 - by Charlie Walbridge. The Middle Ocoee River is a 5-mile stretch of whitewater that takes you through rapids such as Grumpy’s, Broken Nose, Diamond Splitter, and Table Saw. 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. The guides involved in the river reaches the cut-off level, TVA investigators are looking into whether they have... 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