Wasilla woman dies after boat overturns in Talkeetna River

A Wasilla woman died Tuesday afternoon after the boat she was in overturned in the Talkeetna River, Alaska State Troopers said.

The motor on the roughly 14-foot aluminum boat stalled and the boat became caught in a log jam and flipped, said Tim DeSpain, a spokesman for the troopers.

The boat was close to a small gravel bar when it overturned, said Israel Mahay, who owns Mahay’s Jet Boat Adventures and was called to help with the rescue. The area is a fairly technical part of the river to maneuver and has many uprooted trees and logs, Mahay said.

There were four people in the boat when it flipped, and troopers said they were notified around 3 p.m. that 48-year-old Keely Jo Latimer was unresponsive.

Emergency responders in Talkeetna called Mahay, who said he was already on the water. Mahay picked up medics and headed roughly 8 miles upriver to the small gravel bar, he said. The boat arrived at nearly the same time as a LifeMed helicopter.

Latimer died at the scene despite life-saving efforts, troopers said.

There were life jackets in the boat, but the group was not wearing them when it overturned, DeSpain said. Mahay brought the surviving boaters to Talkeetna, where medics evaluated them, he said.


Troopers transported Latimer’s body from the area by helicopter.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the first name of the woman who died. It was Keely Jo Latimer, not Kelly Jo Latimer.