Four adults and two kids put into the South Fork of the Payette River near the Danskin Station, about six miles east of Garden Valley, some time before 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Boise County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dale Rogers said.
One woman fell out of the raft when it hit some rapids. Tracy Ruby, 45, jumped in the river to try to help the woman, Rogers said, and a man with the group did the same.
The others in the raft were able to pull the first woman and the man out of the water, but could not find Ruby, whose 6-year-old son was in the raft. The group was not with a guide.
Ruby was found about six miles downriver near Alder Creek Road by two people who pulled her to the bank and attempted CPR, Rogers said.
The stretch of river where the woman drowned is known as Swirly Canyon. It has both rapids and strong currents, especially when river flows are high in the late spring and early summer.
Sundays death was the first rafting fatality in Boise County this season, Rogers said. But Southern Idaho has had at least one other drowning this year: A Nampa fisherman died in the Snake River near Marsing in March.
Rogers said the three adults who went into the South Fork were not wearing life vests. Sheriffs reports say that Ruby and another woman in the boat discussed putting them on as the raft approached the rapids, but didnt have time before the first woman fell in.
Fellow rafters tried to throw Ruby a life jacket when she was in the water, but she wasnt able to reach it, Rogers said.
Its unclear whether the other adult and the two children in the raft were wearing life vests, the deputy said.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219 Twitter: @IDS_Orr