What was supposed to be a short raft ride in the rain-swollen Kayaderosseras Creek in Milton went tragically wrong Friday evening.
Diana Henderson, 52, of Milton, died after the personal raft she was riding on flipped her into the water, the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office said. She was rafting along with a family group.
Her body was recovered Monday morning in Malta about four miles from where she went into the water, authorities said.
Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Richard L. Castle said Henderson went out on the creek near Creek & Pines mobile home park Friday evening with an adult son, a grandchild and two neighborhood kids. Some early reports said they were all part of one family.
The group intended only to raft the few hundred feet of the stream past the mobile home park and get out near a bend, Castle said, but spilled when fast water kept them from exiting at their intended location.
Henderson was not wearing a life jacket, deputies said. It wasn’t known whether other members of the party wore life jackets.
The Kayaderosseras is flat where the party set out, but shortly after where the spill occurred begins a series of rapids that descend to the village of Ballston Spa. There was a fast current at the time.
The other rafters were able to get to shore safely, though one of the youths was swept downstream as far as the Galway Road bridge, about a mile upstream of Ballston Spa.
“It definitely shows the dangers of swift water,” Castle said. “Swift water isn’t just in the Adirondacks. Any of these places can be dangerous.”
He said the group was using small, commercially sold personal rafts.
A search by police and emergency responders began immediately after the accident was reported at 7:40 p.m. Friday, but the effort was hampered by approaching darkness and high water conditions.
Around the same time, a witness reported seeing a body pass face-down under the Ralph Street bridge in Ballston Spa.
Search efforts were limited over the weekend because of the continued high water and swift current in the creek.
By Monday morning, water levels had dropped enough to allow a water search. Henderson’s body was found around 10:15 a.m. by a Department of Environmental Conservation team aboard a jet boat. It was later recovered by a state forest ranger kayak team.
The body was found on the shores of the Kayaderosseras Creek in Malta, about four miles from the point where the journey started. Deputies said the body was located on a point of land between Malta Avenue and Northline Road that became exposed as the waters of the Kayaderosseras Creek receded. The site is near where the Mourningkill merges into the Kayaderosseras.
The Sheriff’s Department was assisted throughout the search by state forest rangers, Department of Environmental Conservation police, state park police, the Ballston Spa Police Department, Malta-Stillwater EMS and the Ballston Spa, Malta Ridge and Arvin Hart fire departments. “It was through the collaborative effort of the many agencies involved and the vast resources available to our communities that Mrs. Henderson’s remains were located,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
“We offer our condolences to the family of Diana Henderson and our thanks to the many agencies that assisted us in the search,” deputies said.