Accident Database

Report ID# 3862

  • Pinned in Boat against Rock or Sieve
  • Does not Apply
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description

Clarion River mishap claims DuBois woman

May 27, 2014

A DuBois woman died Saturday, May 25th in a canoeing mishap on the Clarion River in Elk County. Brittany Ann Baird, 25, died Saturday. She was the daughter of Lon L. Baird Jr. and Marcy (Campanini) Baird, who survive. She was engaged to be married to Anthony “Jimmer” Varischetti in Sepember. She was a therapist with Community Guidance in DuBois. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Tobias Roman Catholic Church in Brockway.

According to a story in Sunday's edition, Elk County 911 received a call around 3 p.m. Saturday that five individuals were in the water with at least one injured. Ridgway fire Chief Scott Pontius said a group of people were canoeing when some of them got hung up against one of the bridge pylons in the river along Portland Mills Road in Ridgway Township. “The river was swift,” Pontius said. The Clarion River was still running high Saturday at 7.1 feet in the wake of severe flooding Wednesday that caused water levels to crest near 22 feet. After the initial response, there was a request for the swift water rescue from Clearfield County as well as the coroner. The STAT MedEvac Helicopter was called to the landing zone at the carnival lot in Ridgway Borough. About 10 minutes later, Wilcox’s High e and one was flown by helicopter.

Deceased Ridgway Township

canoer ID’d

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 7:00 am
RIDGWAY — A woman killed Saturday afternoon in a canoeing accident in Ridgway Township has been identified by media reports as 25-year-old Brittany Ann Baird of DuBois. 

Baird was reportedly killed when a canoe she was operating on the Clarion River near Portland Mills in Ridgway Township became hung up on a support beneath the Portland Mills Bridge. Baird was reportedly trapped with her head underneath the water’s surface.  A man with Baird at the time also became hung up on the pylon and suffered injuries. 

Emergency responders were dispatched to the scene around 2 p.m.  Baird was pronounced dead at the scene and the man transported to UPMC Altoona for treatment, said Ridgway volunteer fire chief Scott Pontious. Both were part of a larger canoe group.  Officials believed alcohol consumption and high waters following flooding Wednesday throughout the area may have played a role. 

A man was also charged public drunkenness at the scene.


Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!