In Multnomah County Circuit Court, the family of a woman who died after the kayak she was riding in on the Rogue River capsized last summer is suing Echo River Trips for her Oregon wrongful death. Cynthia Lee Von Tungeln, was 52.
According to the wrongful death complaint, Von Tungeln was kayaking with a large guided party from Grave Creek to Foster Bar on June 27, 2008 when the inflatable raft that she and another woman were in capsized as they tried to get past Picket Fence, which is a series of rocks. The family’s lawsuit contends that they became trapped in the “unusually high flow” and while Von Tungeln was able to push the other woman out of the area where the water swirled against the rocks, the 52-year-old woman stayed trapped under the water. Von Tungeln drowned and her body couldn’t be recovered until it finally washed free several days after her death.
Von Tungeln’s parents and two adult daughters are seeking at least $4 million for her wrongful death: $1.5 million for lost wages, savings, and services, $2 million for loss of companionship, $500,000 for Von Tungeln’s anguish when she was thrown from the kayak and got caught under the water, and memorial and burial costs.
Her family’s Oregon wrongful death lawsuit accuses Echo River Trips, a Hood River-based rafting company, of negligence in failing to provide Von Tungeln with sufficient instruction, letting her ride the rapids without adequately warning her of the dangers, and neglecting to have the proper polices or a properly trained guide that sufficiently protected inexperienced riders.
The plaintiffs contend that the defendant should have known that Von Tungeln and the woman she was riding with lacked experience and were depending on the guides to help them navigate safely through the more dangerous rapids. Picket Fences is located at Blossom Bar, which is usually a class IV rapid. The melted snow, however, made it more dangerous than normal.
Four other people died in boating or swimming accidents in the Rogue River last summer. Two of these deaths occurred at the Blossom Bar Rapids.
Oregon Boating Accidents
Oregon’s beautiful outdoors make it a popular place for locals and visitors wishing to engage in all kinds of recreational activities, including kayaking, river rafting, boating, windsurfing, and activities involving other types of personal watercraft. Unfortunately, boating accidents do happen that could have been avoided if not for the negligent or careless actions of another party. For example, someone may decide to operate a boat without the proper license, training, adequate experience, or while drunk. A boat rental company may rent vacationers a defective boat.
If you believe that your loved one died in an Oregon boating accident because another party was careless or negligent, you should speak with an experienced Oregon wrongful death lawyer today.
Family sues over kayak death, Mail Tribune, May 19, 2009
Family of woman who drowned on Rogue sues, OregonLive.com, May 15, 2009
Drowning victim’s body may be visible to rivergoers, Seattle PI, July 4, 2009
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