Tennessee kayaker drowns in North Carolina river

Published 8:48 am Friday, December 20, 2019

MARSHALL, N.C. (AP) — A Tennessee woman died in a kayaking incident on the Laurel River in North Carolina, authorities said. April Morton, 31, died Sunday after getting stuck underneath a tree in the water, Madison County Emergency Management coordinator Louis Roberts said. Morton is from Knoxville and was identified as an experienced kayaker by American Whitewater, a national river conservation nonprofit, The Asheville Citizen Times reported. County dispatch received a call Sunday of a river rescue in progress, Roberts said. When county EMS arrived, Morton was receiving CPR from medical personnel who were kayaking in the vicinity. Roberts said the water levels in the river were elevated because of recent rain. He said Morton was going through the Stairstep Rapid and didn’t see the tree. N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission Lt. Andrew Helton said the agency is investigating the fatality. Last year, six kayakers died in Western North Carolina. The agency says Morton is the first kayaking death of 2019.

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