Eagle River Drowning Victims Identified
The two women were tourists from Montana
UPDATE: The two women who drown were sisters.
EAGLE RIVER - The two women who drowned Wednesday in the Eagle River were tourists from Montana and had only been in the state a matter of hours before they died.
Police have identified the women as 48-year-old Carol Heater of Kalispell, Montana and 60-year-old Fern Johnson of Plains, Montana. Fern’s husband, Robert Johnson, accompanied them.
According to police, the three were visiting a friend in Eagle River, Robert Voris, who suggested they float the upper part of the river. Voris got into a kayak and the other three went into a single canoe. At some point police said they encountered a large log jam that they attempted to navigate around.
“As they were headed towards the east bank the water became swifter,“ said APD spokesman Lieutenant Dave Parker. “And it over turned their canoe. The women were swept under the log jam and Robert Johnson was able to climb up on the log jam and began looking for the people who were lost underneath; he had expected them to surface downstream, but they did not surface.”
Police said the women were both wearing life jackets, but they were of no use. The force of the water pinned them underneath the jam, with thousands of pounds of pressure. Both of the men, Robert Johnson and Voris, walked away from the river uninjured.