3 killed in Snake River boating accident
June 4, 2006
Three people were drowned in the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park on Friday, June 2nd, when their raft overturned and spilled them into the cold and swift running river. A man and woman from South Carolina and a woman from Louisiana were killed. Rescue personnel were able to extricate the other ten passengers from the water. All of the boaters were wearing personal flotation devices.
The victims were John and Elizabeth Rizas, ages 63 and 58 respectively, from Beaufort, South Carolina, and Linda Clark, age 69, from Shreveport, Louisiana.
The accident occurred about one half mile south of the historic Bar BC Dude Ranch. The group was on a scenic float trip raft through Grand Teton Lodge Company.
The Lodge Company reported the boating accident and Park Rangers immediately responded with multiple rescue boats, rescue personnel, ambulances and an interagency helicopter to airlift emergency medical personnel to the accident scene. Two individuals received CPR and advanced life support care at the accident scene and during transport to the medical center, but could not be revived. Another rider became stranded on an island in the middle of the Snake River and was rescued by park rangers who brought him to the river bank where he could be flown off the river in a helicopter to a waiting ambulance.
In the past 56 years, there have been three fatalities on the Snake River within Grand Teton National Park. Two of those involved boating accidents and one occurred when a fisherman slipped and fell into the river just below Jackson Lake Dam. According to the Park, approximately 63,000 people float the Snake River with commercially-guided trips in the park each summer.