Accident Database

Report ID# 3614

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water

Accident Description


Meridian woman drowns on the South Fork of the Payette trying to help friend June 18, 2012


Four adults and two kids put into the South Fork of the Payette River near the Danskin Station, about six miles east of Garden Valley, some time before 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Boise County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Dale Rogers said. One woman fell out of the raft when it hit some rapids. Tracy Ruby, 45, jumped in the river to try to help the woman, Rogers said, and a man with the group did the same. The others in the raft were able to pull the first woman and the man out of the water, but could not find Ruby, whose 6-year-old son was in the raft. The group was not with a guide. Ruby was found about six miles downriver near Alder Creek Road by two people who pulled her to the bank and attempted CPR, Rogers said.

The stretch of river where the woman drowned is known as “Swirly Canyon.” It has both rapids and strong currents, especially when river flows are high in the late spring and early summer. Sunday’s death was the first rafting fatality in Boise County this season, Rogers said.

Rogers said the three adults who went into the South Fork were not wearing life vests. Sheriff’s reports say that Ruby and another woman in the boat discussed putting them on as the raft approached the rapids, but didn’t have time before the first woman fell in. Fellow rafters tried to throw Ruby a life jacket when she was in the water, but she wasn’t able to reach it, Rogers said. It’s unclear whether the other adult and the two children in the raft were wearing life vests, the deputy said.


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2012

Subject: Payette River Drowning is senseless (Idaho)

A drowning on the Payette River on Sunday defies logic and should not have happened. Terri Rubio, 45, was in a raft with with 5 others with only a youngster wearing a life jacket. When another paddler fell out in a rapid, Teri and her boyfriend both jumped in to save the other paddler. The other paddler was brought back into the boat as was Teri's boyfriend. Teri was later found 6 miles downstream. Obviously this was a situation where people didn't know what they were doing.

A 4:30 pm put-in, people wondering if they should put on their life jackets as the rapid approached, and people jumping out of a raft, to save another rafter, only to become victims themselves. I know the story well. Someone buys a raft and automatically becomes an expert even if they have not have any training. Thist is a true tragedy. If you see any of these neophytes lining up to do Chili Bar, the Gorge, or any other river, please stop them in their tracks and suggest they get some training before they pretend to play raft guide.

Thanks from CFS, California Floaters Society.

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