Family identifies victim in rafting accident on the Payette River; 4 others injured

A 45-year-old Emmett woman who died Thursday on the Payette River was in a raft that hit something and overturned, trapping her and a friend underwater, a relative told the Idaho Statesman.

Bill Cannon, an Emmett native who lives in Connecticut, identified the dead woman Friday afternoon as his niece, Misty Cannon. She was with a group of four other women who were floating west along a popular section of the river beneath Black Canyon Dam to the Washington Avenue Bridge in Emmett at about 3 p.m.

The rafters ran into trouble as they approached an island in the river, Bill Cannon said.

“The raft hit something and flipped over,” Cannon wrote to a Statesman reporter, saying his account came from another family member. “They all went into the water and Misty and a friend were caught on something underneath and trapped underwater.”

Misty Cannon had turned blue by the time people on the shore got to her, Bill Cannon said.

“They freed her and gave her CPR on the scene, but it was too late,” he wrote.

The second woman who was trapped was freed and taken by a Lifeflight helicopter to an undisclosed Treasure Valley hospital, Bill Cannon said he was told. He did not know her condition Friday afternoon.

The three others were taken to Valor Health hospital in Emmett, according to Gem County, which also confirmed that one woman was transported by Lifeflight.

The Gem County Sheriff’s Office has not publicly identified any of the women. A dispatcher told the Statesman on Friday no further details would be provided at this time.

“We were able to determine there were five patients that had ultimately ended up out of their flotation devices in the river and in distress,” Mike Knittel of the Emmett Police Department told KTVB.com on Thursday.

Emmett Police Chief Steve Kunka said Friday members of his team were at the scene of Thursday’s accident in an assist role and that all inquiries about the incident should be directed to the Gem County Sheriff’s Office.

KTVB spoke with 16-year-old Porter Child, a bystander who tried to assist in the rescue.

“This man runs over and he’s on the phone with 911 and he yells, ‘Somebody go help, this lady is drowning,’ ” Child told KTVB. “When I got there she was turning blue. My guess is she was under for 10 or 15 minutes because she died right there on the spot.”