A Corning woman who was kayaking with her daughter was identified Monday as the person who drowned Sunday in a Mother’s Day boating accident on the Chemung River in the Town of Big Flats.
The victim was identified as Donna P. Bailey, 58, of Corning. Bailey’s body was recovered from the river around 7:35 p.m. Sunday by rescue personnel.
Bailey was part owner of Diamond Gym fitness center on Philo Road in Horseheads with her husband, Doug, the fitness center confirmed.
The Lynch Funeral Home, 318 W. Broad St., Horseheads, will hold calling hours for Bailey from 4-7 p.m. Thursday. Private funeral services will be held at the convenience of the family.
Bailey and her 32-year-old daughter, whose name was not released, had entered the river around 2 p.m. at Bottcher’s Landing in Big Flats, according to the sheriff’s office. The women were in a two-person Folbot kayak that was owned by Bailey.
The kayak encountered a downed tree as they came around a bend in the river a mile east of Minier’s Fields, the release said.
Investigators believe the kayak struck a partially submerged limb and overturned, pinning the two women in the craft against the uprooted tree.
Neither woman was wearing a life jacket, according to Undersheriff William Schrom.
“They had life jackets in the boat, but they were recovered at the scene. It’s one of those things, you want to encourage people to wear them, especially this time of year,” Schrom said. “It’s colder water, fairly high, and very fast moving in the area in which she was located. It’s a very sad, horrible tragedy.”
The two women didn’t have a destination in mind, but were going to leave the river at some point downstream and call someone to pick them up, Schrom said.
After the accident, the daughter was able to free herself and swim to shore, but she was unable to assist her mother, who was pinned under the water between the kayak and the tree, the sheriff’s office said.
The daughter made it out to state Route 352, where a passing motorcyclist stopped to help her and called 911 at 3:51 p.m. She was treated at Arnot Ogden Medical Center for minor injuries and released, Schrom said.