2 women from Sparks and California dead after Alaska rafting accident

Two women are dead after a rafting accident in Alaska.

Alaska Alpine Adventures says the two women who died in a rafting accident on the Kongakut River had been paddling rapids when their raft flipped Wednesday.

The North Slope Borough identified the women as 69-year-old Cheryl Minnehan of Elk Grove, California, and 67-year-old Karen Todd of Sparks, Nevada.

"Words cannot adequately convey the grief and sense of loss that we feel today for the families and loved ones of Karen and Cheryl," Dan Oberlatz, CEO of Alaska Alpine Adventures, said in a statement.

Officials say there were five rafts on the trip and the victims were in a raft carrying at least 10 people.

The borough's Department of Search and Rescue received a report Wednesday of two people missing after a boat capsized on the Kongakut River, about 75 miles south of Kaktovik.

Kaktovik is a small community on the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska's northern coast, about 625 miles north of Anchorage.

The borough and the Alaska Air National Guard safely recovered eight other people and took them to the community of Deadhorse. The guard found the bodies of the missing rafters Thursday.

The North Slope Police Department is investigating the deaths.

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