Muscogee County Assistant Coroner Charles Newton has not identified the man at 10 p.m., but said the cause of death was an apparent drowning. The body will be sent to state crime lab for an autopsy.
The man was wearing a life jacket and a helmet when he went into the river, Gilbert said. “Our guides kept visual contact on him the entire time,” Gilbert said. “He was unresponsive when he was pulled into the raft.”
He was taken to the Alabama bank and transported by Phenix City medical emergency personnel to Jack Hughston Hospital. Newton said. He was pronounced dead at the hospital just before 8 p.m., Newton said.
Whitewater Express has been the lone outfitter on the urban whitewater course that opened in the summer of 2013. This is the first rafting fatality on the river in the six years of operation. Whitewater Express also operates on the Nantahala River in North Carolina and Ocoee in Tennessee. The company has been in business since 1980 and this is the first death, Gilbert said.
There have been more than a 150,000 rafters go down the river through Whitewater Express since 2013.
Chuck Williams: 706-571-8510, @chuckwilliams
The Muscogee County Coroner's Office has confirmed the identity of the man who drowned following a whitewater rafting trip in the Chattahoochee River June 2.
46-year-old Alvin Lino was a resident of Marietta, GA who met his family in the Fountain City for the whitewater rafting trip.
Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said it appears Lino was thrown from the boat by the first round of rapids, but remained visible while in the water due to his life jacket but was unresponsive upon pulling him from the Alabama side of the river.
Lino was taken to Jack Hughston Hospital in Phenix City where he later passed away.
Because Lino passed away in Alabama, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has declined the case. His body will be handed over to the Russell Co. Coroner's Office and then sent to Montgomery for an autopsy.
Officials have not released an exact cause of death at this time.
Whitewater Express confirms the rafter was wearing protective headgear and a life jacket at the time, ensuring all safety measures were properly taken before, during and following rafting tour.
Dan Gilbert, the owner of Whitewater Express, spoke with News Leader 9 expressing his condolences to the family and all involved in the situation saying:
"We are very sorry this incident happened. It appears to us everything was handled well on the river and at the time of the incident from what I understand the rafter was visible in the water to everyone. Its still early in the process of gathering the facts of the situation but we are very sorry this occurred."
A friend of Lino's also confirmed that he had multiple prior medical conditions.
This case is still under investigation. Keep with News Leader 9 for up-to-the-minute updates.
Copyright 2018 WTVM. All rights reserved.