UPDATE: Woman drowns while tubing
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Ms. Martin's hometown, as well as specify she was tubing and not rafting, and to include the rafting company was not based in Mitchell County, according to information from Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Street.
BAKERSVILLE – A Virginia woman drowned this past weekend while rafting in the North Toe River.
The body of Jennifer Gail Martin, of Coeburn, Virginia, was recovered Saturday, Aug. 11, near Forbes Bridge on Highway 197.
A witness said Martin and her boyfriend scheduled a river tubing tour with a McDowell County-based rafting company. The company supplied floating tubes, life vests, safety helmets and transportation to and from the river. They began the trip on the Yancey County side of the river near Toe Cane. After that, Martin’s tube overturned, causing her to be swept away in the current. Her body was recovered by kayakers who began CPR until first responders arrived. She was transported to Blue Ridge Regional Hospital and was pronounced dead.
“Thanks to first responders, EMS, dispatch and law enforcement from both Mitchell and Yancey counties,” said Donald Street, Mitchell County sheriff. “A special thanks to the American Red Cross for contacting Martin’s son, currently in the United States Army and stationed in Germany.”