According to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a woman in Ohio drowned while kayaking in the rocky Acanaluft River along the western border of North Carolina.
A park press release said the kayaker was identified as 34-year-old Megan Thompson of Cleveland Heights.
Searchers found her body after witnesses reported Thompson’s disappearance in the middle of the day on Thursday, February 24th.
“At 2:18 p.m., park rangers received a message from Thompson’s companions that she had disappeared underwater and had not surfaced along the Acanoluft River near Smokmont Camp,” the park said.
“According to eyewitnesses, Thompson sailed on rapid rapids before being (squeezed) between a fallen tree and the river bank.”
Ambulance staff took about 40 minutes to free Thompson and bring her ashore, where she was pronounced dead, the park said.
“Rarely, drowning is the third leading cause of death in Smokis after car accidents and plane crashes,” park officials said.
“This is the first death in the park in 2022 and the 61st drowning in history.”
Rivers in the park considered unpredictable because localized storms at high peaks can cause a rapid rise in water levels at lower altitudes, the park says.
“As the river level rises and the speed of the water increases, the risk of serious injury or drowning becomes greater,” the National Park Service said. “Most drownings occur as a result of a foot or ankle caught behind an underwater rock ledge or between boulders. The power of water will push you and keep you under you.
This story was originally published February 25, 2022 07:39.