Boise man dies in rafting accident

William Navarro of Boise was thrown from his raft after hitting a rapid between Horseshoe Bend and Banks. Before going under, he had removed his life jacket while trying to get back onto the raft.

A Boise man has died in a boating accident on the Payette River.

Sgt. David Anthony of the Boise Co. Sheriff's Office said Saturday that William Navarro and his girlfriend, Heidi Landa, were floating down the river in a catamaran-style raft shortly before 9 p.m. Friday night near Chief Parrish, between Horseshoe Bend and Banks.

When they hit the rapids, Anthony said, Navarro fell out of the raft.

Navarro and Landa were both wearing life jackets. However, Navarro took his life jacket off after having difficulties in trying to get back onto the raft, Anthony said.

"He concluded perhaps that by removing his life jacket it would make it easier for him to re-board the boat," Anthony said. "After he removed his life jacket he was still unable to re-board the boat, and was unable to get his life jacket back on to go through the next set of rapids."

Landa tried to help Navarro, but he went under after they came up on another set of rapids.

The Horseshoe Bend Fire Department's water rescue team found Navarro near Beehive Bend. He was unconscious and not breathing.

"He was brought to the shore, but medical personnel were unable to revive him," Anthony said.

Before setting out on the river, Navarro had forgotten his life jacket, but stopped at Bear Valley Rafting in Banks to borrow one.

Bear Valley Rafting owner Phil White knows the Payette River and how dangerous it can be.

"It's very swift, very powerful, and the currents are very strong," White said. "It's very turbulent, very fast, and it can throw you pretty much in any direction that you're really not prepared for."

Sgt. Anthony said that, to the best of his knowledge, Navarro's death is the first in Boise County that is rafting-related. He also said that when rafting accidents do occur, very few of them involve guided tours.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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