NDIAN LAKE -- A woman drowned Thursday during a whitewater rafting trip on the Indian and Hudson rivers and the guide who led the trip was charged with criminally negligent homicide, according to State Police.
Tamara F. Blake, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, was pronounced dead after she was thrown from a raft at 10:20 a.m., according to State Police.
State Police said Blake fell in the water in the Indian River, and her body was recovered about 5 miles downstream in the Hudson River. She was pronounced dead where she was recovered.
The guide who was piloting the raft, Rory K. Fay, 37, of North Creek, was charged with criminally negligent homicide Thursday night, according to State Police.
State Police said he was “intoxicated” and that a passenger with Blake steered the group’s raft to shore after Fay and Blake were thrown from it.
“We are continuing to investigate the role alcohol had in the situation,” Hamilton County District Attorney Marsha Purdue said.
Fay was arraigned and sent to Hamilton County Jail for lack of bail.
Police said Fay, Blake and Richard J. Clar, 53, of Columbus, Ohio, were on the raft on the Indian River when Blake and Fay were ejected. Clar got the boat to shore and Fay swam to shore.
Clar and Fay walked to Chain of Lakes Road after they got out of the river, but were unable to locate Blake.
A State Police helicopter was used to search the river, and the helicopter crew located Blake’s body.
The passengers were wearing helmets and life vests.
Patrick Cunningham, the owner of Hudson River Rafting Co., said the person was on a trip guided by his company and Fay worked for his company.
The trips start on the Indian River, riding a bubble of water to the Hudson River and follows the Hudson to North River.
He said one guide was with the “small” group, and he was awaiting further details on what happened.
“It’s a tragedy,” Cunningham said.
He said State Police interviewed him, but he had not talked with Fay and did not know he had been charged and jailed until a Post-Star reporter informed him.
Cunningham said Fay began working as a guide for his company this past spring, passed the guide’s test and had taken about 20 trips.
The prosecution is not the first of Cunningham’s staff for a rafting mishap.
Cunningham and one of his guides were charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment in 2010 after passengers were allegedly sent down the river in an unguided boat and another group was abandoned in a remote area.
Charges against the guide were dismissed, but the charges against Cunningham were adjourned in contemplation of dismissal earlier this year. Hamilton County prosecutors filed a request earlier this month to re-open the case because they did not believe he abided by the terms of the adjournment.
That could result in the charges being renewed. No new court date has been set, and Purdue said she could not comment on the case Friday.
The death was the first related to a commercial rafting trip on the Hudson River in more than 15 years. The last occurred in 1994, according to Post-Star archives.
Cunningham said his company, which has been in business since the 1970s, had not had a fatality of a rafter before Thursday.