Rafting Accident on Snake River Results in Fatality
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
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, overturned and spilled all six persons aboard 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.
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 moving current and swept downstream.
Bystanders near the Dornan's landing on the eastbank 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.
Teton County received a 911 call and transferred that emergency call to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 6:25 p.m. 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 on 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. Although Viehman was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) at the time of the accident, the investigation will determine if all others had their life vests on when the raft flipped.