One dead in whitewater rafting accident over "Big Falls" rapid on South Fork of Payette

Rapid is marked too dangerous to float
Posted at 4:50 PM, Jul 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 13:27:42-04

LOWMAN, Idaho — A 27-year-old man is dead after a whitewater rafting accident on the South Fork of the Payette River Thursday afternoon.

Dispatchers say crews safely found a second person who had been missing.

The Boise County Sheriff's Office says a group in a raft went on a section known as "Big Falls"--a class 5 to class 6 drop, which is marked as too dangerous to float.

"It's a rapid that must be portaged. In other words you are not supposed to float it. It's just too dangerous to float through it and it's unknown as to why they went through. We don't know if they were unaware or if they were unable, but they floated through," said Sergeant David Anthony, Boise County Sheriff's Office.

The area is in a remote section of the river that winds through a canyon several miles west of Lowman, near mile marker 24.

The Sheriff says the rafter who died was ejected from the raft. He was wearing a life jacket and a helmet.

The Sheriff urges everyone who rafts to go with an experienced, professional river guide, wear a helmet and life jacket, and use quality gear.