Woman clings to a canoe for 4 hours, floats 8 miles down San Rafael River

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EMERY COUNTY, Utah (ABC4-News) – A woman clung to a capsized canoe for four hours in the San Rafael River on Thursday as she floated eight miles from where her canoe initially flipped over. Emery County Sheriff’s Office, Emery County Search and Rescue and a Department of Public Safety helicopter saved the woman between Fuller’s Bottom and Swinging Bridge. 

The canoe initially flipped over while the woman was canoeing with her husband. The husband was able to make it to shore and contact dispatch because his wife disappeared down the river. 

Search and rescue officials were positioned in the river, inside canyons along the river, and from overlook areas. The Department of Public Safety helicopter located the woman. She was wearing a life jacket and held on to the canoe the entire time. Officials estimate she was in cold water for about four hours and traveled about eight miles from where the canoe capsized. 

Quick response by Emery County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue personnel in addition to the Department of Public Safety helicopter made for a happy ending to a very dangerous situation, officials said. 

“We are fortunate to have skilled response personnel in Emery County and to have the support of the State DPS helicopter,” said officials from the Emery County Sheriff’s Office. 

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