Man dies in Yellowstone River mishap near Gardiner
By Camden Easterling, Enterprise Staff Writer
A 33-year-old man died Thursday after falling out of a raft on the Yellowstone River near Gardiner. Christopher Johnson appears to have drowned, but Park County officials will have an autopsy performed to formally determine the cause and manner of death, Deputy Coroner Jake Devries said Friday.
Johnson, was an active duty member of the Navy who was from Indiana but stationed in Virginia, Devries said. Johnson was on a rafting trip with Flying Pig Adventure Company that operates out of Gardiner, Lt. Tom Totland of the Park County Sheriff’s Office said Friday. At some point on the trip Johnson was knocked out of the raft, Totland said. The Sheriff’s Office on Friday did not have information available for release about what circumstances prompted Johnson to fall into the river.
Johnson was wearing a life jacket, according to the PCSO. The accident occurred around 2 p.m. on the Yellowstone about one mile north of Gardiner, according to a PCSO news release. Johnson was pulled from the water at La Duke Springs, near mile post 5 of U.S. Highway 89 South. Johnson received CPR at the scene before being transported to Livingston Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Devries, who met emergency workers at the hospital, said he did not have details about what Johnson’s condition was when he was pulled from the river. A call to Flying Pig was not returned Friday. PCSO responded to the incident along with Search & Rescue team workers, Gardiner Ambulance and Yellowstone National Park. Park County Sheriff Allan Lutes on Friday urged the public to be cautious when recreating on waterways, particularly during times of high or rapid water.