White Water Rafting: Safety Tips

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WOAY) – Over the weekend, two rafting accidents could have ended tragically.

In Pennsylvania, inexperienced rafters went over a waterfall when the group missed multiple warning signs posted in the water. A second accident happened in Georgia when a man and ten children needed rescuing after being swept over a dam.

Rafting on the New River can be just as dangerous if rafters are not careful.

“The New River is a big river. It’s a powerful river. It has class 4 rapids on the lower end,” said Eve West with the New River Gorge. “Even on the upper end where there is still water instead of white water, we get a lot of drownings that occur because people get complacent. Anytime you’re near the river, you need to be wearing a properly fitted, Coast Guard approved life jacket.”

Another way to avoid an accident is to raft with a commercial company rather than trying to maneuver the rapids on your own.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.