Accident Database

Report ID# 34446

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Solo Paddling

Accident Description

Manchester drowning victim, 32, focused on missionary work

New Hampshire Union Leader
July 16. 2018 2:39PM 

MANCHESTER — A woman who died while kayaking on the Piscataquog River was a nurse who served church missions throughout the world.

Anna Christa Gdanian, 32, was on the river with three friends Thursday night when her kayak capsized and she disappeared under the water. Divers recovered her body Friday morning.
New Hampshire State Police Marine Patrol identified her on Sunday after members of her family were notified. 

The family described Gdanian as kind, thoughtful and generous. “Anna was the best gift anyone could ask for,” the family wrote in Gdanian’s obituary. “Anna had a strong light inside that radiated toward anyone she came in contact with.”

According to the family, Gdanian was a nurse at the Hillsborough County Nursing Home in Goffstown and had also worked as a private-duty nurse. In the last 10 years, Gdanian traveled the world on Christian missions, developing a love of teaching children and spreading the gospel, the family said. Gdanian served missions in Venezuela, Mongolia, China, Uganda, Rwanda and Namibia. In 2011 while on a teaching mission at the Talitha Kumi Christian Academy in Arandis, Namibia, she was part of a team of missionaries whose work was featured in an article in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

“The down time here in Arandis is very important because we are able to spend time with the children and really get to know the culture of Namibia,” Gdanian wrote on the team blog. Many of the schoolchildren were in foster care after losing their parents or being taken away from an abusive home. Gdanian’s family said Anna’s mission work also led her to want to adopt orphans. “I really love anywhere in the world that I may have the privilege of calling my home and serving the people in the communities,” Anna said in a quote the family shared in the obituary.

Manchester firefighters received a 911 call around 8:50 p.m. Thursday reporting a kayaker had gone into the river. Firefighters responded to an area under the Biron Bridge near 140 Electric St., where the search was eventually suspended because of darkness.

Divers returned Friday and found Gdanian’s body in about 14 feet of water around 9 a.m. 

Marine Patrol Sgt. Dave Ouellette said it appeared alcohol and a lack of a personal flotation device may have been factors, although the investigation remains open. 

Anyone with further information or who witnessed the accident is asked to call Ouellette at (603) 227-2111 or e-mail him at

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