North Carolina woman dies in Nenana River rafting accident

A woman from North Carolina died last month on an Interior rafting trip, Alaska State Troopers said Tuesday.

According to an online trooper dispatch, 67-year-old Pamela Waaser was killed June 24 on the Nenana River near Denali National Park. Troopers and Tri-Valley medics responded to a 911 call about CPR in progress on Waaser, a commercial rafting trip passenger.

Troopers say Waaser was in a raft traversing rapids when she fell into the water, then stopped moving while trying to get back into the boat. She was pronounced dead following significant lifesaving efforts by rafting guides, medics, family and other passengers, including an emergency medical technician and a retired doctor.

An investigation conducted by troopers and the state medical examiner’s office says her death is believed to be due to accidental drowning.

Word of Waaser’s death comes a day after troopers reported another commercial rafting fatality on an Interior river.

Pennsylvania woman Deborah Burke, 65, died Sunday of injuries suffered when a raft overturned after becoming pinned against landslide debris on the Klutina River.

Two others, including a rafting guide, were seriously injured in the incident.

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Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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