Robbinsville, NC -- A 24-year-old Asheville woman drowned in the Cheoah River when she fell off the back of a personal raft and was snagged underwater.
Authorities say the death of Ashley Miller marks the first accident since the river reopened to the public last year.
Forest Service spokesman Terry Seyden says Miller, who was wearing a personal flotation device, was one of four people in the raft about noon Sunday.
Another person in the raft swam her to shore in the rough waters. She was airlifted to a Knoxville, Tennessee, hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The Graham County river recently reopened after the Alcoa Company dammed it for 78 years. The river is classified Class Four for its rolling, technical rapids that are only for experienced boaters.
Four outfitters have permits to guide on the Cheoah. Personal rafts are also allowed by permit. Miller's group had a permit.