Two women dead after canoe capsizes on Eagle River


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Two Montana women died when the canoe they were traveling in flipped in the Eagle River on Wednesday, Aug. 9.

Star photo by Matt Tunseth

 

Two Montana women died after their canoe capsized Wednesday on Eagle River near Mile 7.4 Eagle River Road, according to the Anchorage Police Department.

On Thursday, Anchorage Police Lt. Dave Parker identified the women as Fern Johnson, 60, of Plains, Mont., and Carol Heater, 48, of Kalispell, Mont.

Three people — the two women and Johnson's husband Robert — were in the when it tipped over, said APD spokesman Lt. Dave Parker. Parker said the trio apparently put the boat up against a log jam in slow-moving water, but the canoe overturned when they tried to paddle to the east bank and were caught in faster current. The two women were trapped beneath the log jam, Parker said, while Robert Johnson was able to climb onto the derbis and survive the accident.

Parker said Alaska State Troopers, the Anchorage Fire Department and the Anchorage Police Department worked jointly to recover the victims and rescue Robert Johnson from the middle of the river.

A male kayaker traveling with the group was not injured, Parker said.

Parker said the Anchorage Fire Department reported everyone involved was wearing life jackets.

He noted that the Montana residents were vacationing in Alaska and had only arrived in the state earlier in the day Wednesday.

Check www.alaskastar.com for updates.  

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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