A commercial trip had a raft flip in Boulder Line Rapid, below the major rapids. Vicki Miller-Savard, who was rafting with her husband, fell from a raft that was heavily loaded with people from a previous flip. She went under water and disappeared. After the head count came up short, guests and guides began a thorough search. When it was unsuccessful, authorities were notified. Her PFD was seen below the accident scene, fully buckled, and was later found in Cheat Lake. The water dropped 1.5' overnight. Her body was found Sunday AM by guides making an early morning run to search for her, her ankle was caught on rock. Water level had dropped over a foot, exposing her body.
Non-witness narrative (copyrighted by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle):
Funeral services set for Manchester woman killed in rafting accident
May 20, 2008
Vicki Jane Miller-Savard of Manchester, Ontario County, was known to go out of her way to help others. Over the weekend, she died doing just that, while doing something else she loved — spending time outdoors and with her husband Kerry Savard. Dr. Miller-Savard, 42, a podiatrist who had a private practice in Newark, Wayne County, died Saturday afternoon in a rafting accident on the Cheat River in Preston County, W. Va.
Authorities reported yesterday that the raft Dr. Miller-Savard turned back to assist passengers on a second raft that had capsized. Dr. Miller-Savard’s raft then capsized as well, sending her into the deep, rushing water. Her body was recovered Sunday morning and was located about 100 yards from where she was last seen by the rest of the group. Authorities said they believed her foot was caught on a rock and the current prevented her from escaping from the rapids.
“It was very tragic and very sudden,” said her niece Kendra Miller, 31, of Fairport. She added that the rafting trip was something Dr. Miller-Savard “was wanting to do.” “She was a compassionate, caring, adventurous person,” Kendra Miller said. “She lived life to the fullest and her smile lit up every room.”
A longtime Bloomfield resident who recently moved to Manchester, Dr. Miller-Savard graduated from Bloomfield High School in 1983, Cornell University in 1987 and Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago in 1993, Kendra Miller said. Kendra Miller described her aunt as “a phenomenal athlete who was in tremendous shape her whole life.” Her favorite — and best — sports included soccer, golf, downhill skiing and waterskiing.
Tanner Miller, 29, of Fairport recalled when his aunt first taught him to ski in the mid-90s.
“She took me to the hardest mountain and told me to just go,” he said. “She was always pushing you to do it, do it, do it. There was no giving up. She never did.” Robin Miller, 26, of Farmington, Ontario County, recalled her aunt’s love of animals. “She was always rescuing animals from the shelter,” she said. She had two cats at the time of her death. She also enjoyed camping with family members and dancing. “She knew how to have a good time, but knew when to buckle down and get serious,” Tanner Miller said. “She will be very missed.”
Dr. Miller-Savard was predeceased by her mother Sue Miller, and brother Robin Miller. She is survived by her husband Kerry Savard; her father Robert Miller; brother Brian Miller and numerous family members. Calling hours are slated for 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Kennedy & Son Funeral Home, 2 South Ave., Bloomfield. The funeral service is set to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Bridget Church, 15 Church St., Bloomfield, said funeral home general manager Tom Blaszak. She will be buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Bristol, Ontario County, after the memorial service, he said.
N.Y. state woman dies in Cheat River rafting accident
May 19, 2008 @ 07:49 AM
By The Associated Press
MASONTOWN. W.Va. — Officials say a Manchester, N.Y., woman was trying to help someone else back into a raft when she fell into the Cheat River and drowned.
It happened Saturday afternoon in Preston County in an area of the river known as “The Coliseum.”
Masontown Fire Chief Mike Lattrell said the 32-year-old woman and her husband were in a group guided by Cheat River Outfitters. The couple’s raft and two others had just overturned.
Firefighters searched the high, fast-moving water throughout the night, finding the woman’s lifejacket downstream in Morgantown.
Her body was recovered about 10 a.m. Sunday. It was floating, one foot snagged in a rock, about 100 yards from where the woman was last seen by the rest of her party.
The woman’s name wasn’t immediately available Monday.