The Latest: Victims died after raft flipped in rapids


BARROW, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on Alaska rafting deaths (all times local):

7 p.m.

Alaska Alpine Adventures says the two women who died in a rafting accident on the Kongakut River had been paddling rapids when their raft flipped Wednesday.

The North Slope Borough identified the women as 69-year-old Cheryl Minnehan of Elk Grove, California, and 67-year-old Karen Todd of Sparks, Nevada.

“Words cannot adequately convey the grief and sense of loss that we feel today for the families and loved ones of Karen and Cheryl,” Dan Oberlatz, CEO of Alaska Alpine Adventures, said in a statement.

Officials say there were five rafts on the trip and the victims were in a raft carrying at least 10 people.

The borough’s Department of Search and Rescue received a report Wednesday of two people missing after a boat capsized on the Kongakut River, about 75 miles south of Kaktovik (KAHK’-toh-vick).

Kaktovik is a small community on the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska’s northern coast, about 625 miles north of Anchorage.

The borough and the Alaska Air National Guard safely recovered eight other people and took them to the community of Deadhorse. The guard found the bodies of the missing rafters Thursday.

The North Slope Police Department is investigating the deaths.

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3:30 p.m.

Authorities say one of two women killed in a rafting accident in Alaska’s remote North Slope was from California, not Nevada as they previously reported.

The North Slope Borough identified the women as 69-year-old Cheryl Minnehan of Elk Grove, California, and 67-year-old Karen Todd of Sparks, Nevada. Borough officials earlier on Friday said that both women were from Nevada.

Officials say the raft was carrying at least 10 people when it capsized during a guided trip operated by Alaska Alpine Adventures. Calls seeking comment from the Anchorage-based company were not immediately returned Friday.

The borough’s Department of Search and Rescue received a report Wednesday of two people missing after a boat capsized on the Kongakut River, about 75 miles south of Kaktovik (KAHK’-toh-vick).

Kaktovik is a small community on the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska’s northern coast, about 625 miles north of Anchorage.

The borough and the Alaska Air National Guard safely recovered eight other people and took them to the community of Deadhorse. The guard found the bodies of the missing rafters Thursday.

The North Slope Police Department is investigating the deaths.

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2:10 p.m.

A raft carrying at least 10 people capsized during a guided trip on Alaska’s remote North Slope, leaving two Nevada women dead.

The North Slope Borough says in a statement the victims were 69-year-old Cheryl Minnehan and 67-year-old Karen Todd. Hometowns and more information, including whether this was a tourists outing, were not immediately available.

The borough’s Department of Search and Rescue received a report Wednesday of two people missing after a boat capsized on the Kongakut River, about 75 miles south of Kaktovik (KAHK’-toh-vick).

Kaktovik is a small community on the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska’s northern coast, about 625 miles north of Anchorage.

The borough and the Alaska Air National Guard safely recovered eight other people and took them to the community of Deadhorse. The guard found the bodies of the missing rafters Thursday.

The North Slope Police Department is investigating the deaths.

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This story has been corrected to changes hometown of one victim to Elk Grove, California, after officials initially said both victims were from Nevada.

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