Big Flats, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Chemung County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim of a kayak accident Monday as Donna Bailey, 58. According to the sheriff's office, rescuers recovered her body from the river just after 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Investigators said Bailey, along with her 32-year-old daughter, entered the Chemung River at Bottcher’s Landing in the Town of Big Flats at about 2:00 p.m. Both women were in a two-person kayak.
As they came around a river bend approximately one mile east of Minier’s Fields, the kayak went to the left of an island in the middle of the river. In that area, there was a full-size, downed tree on the water. There was also a limb that was partially sticking up from the water. The sheriff’s office said the kayak struck the partially emerged limb causing the vessel to overturn. The two women became pinned against the uprooted tree.
Bailey’s daughter was able to get out of the water and walk through a field to Route 352, where a motorcyclist passing by stopped to help.
Boat rescue crews were called to search for Bailey at 3:51 p.m. The operation involved seven companies which launched eight boats in an effort to locate Bailey. Just before 7:00 p.m., rescue crews found the site of the accident. It took 45 minutes for crews to recover Donna Bailey’s body due to a strong current and the location of the incident. Bailey was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said neither woman was wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.
The Chemung County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the following fire departments: Golden Glow, West Elmira, Big Flats, South
Corning, Southport, Wellsburg, Pine City and Chemung, as well as the Elmira Fire Department. Members of the New York State Police and West Elmira Police Department also assisted in the search.