BENTON, Tenn. (AP) – Authorities say it is unusual for rafters to die on the Ocoee (oh-KOH'-ee) River, but they believe two drownings this weekend were simply tragic accidents.
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Kelly Brockman said 52-year-old Marnita McGruder of Rex, Ga., died on Saturday after she was tossed from her raft. On Sunday, 37-year-old Katherine Luna of Smyrna died after she was thrown near the same spot, on a rapid called Grumpy's.
Both women were on commercial rafting trips and were wearing life vests.
Brockman said about 300,000 people raft the Ocoee every year. The last time there was a fatal accident on the river was in 2011.
The river's flow rate at the time of this weekend's accidents was within the normal range for commercial rafting operations.
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- August 25, 2013: Smyrna woman among 2 dead in 2 days on Ocoee River