Woman dies in Grand Teton rafting accident

A rafting accident on the Snake River resulted in the death of one member of a private boating party Sunday evening, July 13, in Grand Teton National Park.

Donna Viehman, 63, of Jackson, Wyoming was riding in a rubber raft just north of the Moose Landing with five other people, including her husband, when the raft hit a mid-stream obstruction. The raft overturned and spilled all six persons into the river at approximately 6:20 p.m.

Viehman could not be revived after being pulled from the river by bystanders and given CPR. She was pronounced dead at the scene according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.

After the raft flipped, five of the boaters were able to reach a gravel bar in the middle of the river. A passing private raft picked up the stranded boaters and floated them the remaining 3/4 mile to the Moose Landing where they were eventually met by park rangers and emergency medical providers. However, Viehman was caught in the fast  current and swept downstream.

Bystanders near the Dornan’s landing on the east bank of the Snake River saw something floating in the water and were able to determine that it was a person. They quickly reached the riverbank and pulled Viehman, who was unresponsive, out of the water. They also started CPR in an attempt to revive her.

Numerous park rangers and EMTs responded to both the Moose Landing and Dornan’s to reach the boaters and provide medical care. Paramedics continued to provide CPR to Viehman for 45 minutes, but could not revive her. She was pronounced dead at approximately 7:35 p.m.

The circumstances leading to this rafting accident are under investigation. All boaters were wearing personal flotation devices at the time of the accident.

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