Alaska News

Rafter dies after falling into a river near Valdez

Update, 10:15 a.m. Friday:

Alaska State Troopers identified the rafter who died as 54-year-old Christopher Roby of Utqiagvik.

Original story:

A rafter died Saturday after going into the Tsina River east of Valdez.

Alaska State Troopers, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and Valdez Fire Department Backcountry Search and Rescue teams responded to the report about a rafter falling into water near Mile 32 of the Richardson Highway, about 4 miles upstream from the Tsaina Lodge and 40 miles east of Valdez, City of Valdez officials said in a written statement.

Rescuers searched the area for about 3 1/2 hours and located the body of the rafter hung up on a rock in the river, the statement said.

The rising water didn’t allow the ground search team to reach the rafter immediately. Once conditions changed, they deployed a two-person pack raft to recover the body, which was sent to the State Medical Examiner, troopers reported.


Earlier that afternoon, rescuers found the rafter’s companion, who sent a report about the incident via satellite communication device InReach. That person and the person who died were in separate rafts, troopers said.

The person who died hadn’t been publicly identified as of Sunday evening.