Two women who died rafting on Ocoee identified

Warning from National Park Service about water activities. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

Benton (AP) Authorities say it is unusual for rafters to die on the Ocoee River, but they believe two drownings this weekend were simply tragic accidents.

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Kelly Brockman said 52-year-old Marnita McGruder of Rex, Ga., died on Saturday after she was tossed from her raft. On Sunday, 37-year-old Katherine Luna of Smyrna died after she was thrown near the same spot, on a rapid called Grumpy's.

Both women were on commercial rafting trips and were wearing life vests.

Brockman said about 300,000 people raft the Ocoee every year. The last time there was a fatal accident on the river was in 2011.

The river's flow rate at the time of this weekend's accidents was within the normal range for commercial rafting operations.

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