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Woman’s body found in Deerfield River

Members of the Northfield Dive Team wait in the churning water of the Deerfield River on Sunday evening to attempt a body retrieval at the TransCanada Northeast Hydro Dam in Conway.
Recorder/Micky Bedell

Members of the Northfield Dive Team wait in the churning water of the Deerfield River on Sunday evening to attempt a body retrieval at the TransCanada Northeast Hydro Dam in Conway. Recorder/Micky Bedell Purchase photo reprints »

DEERFIELD — Kayakers found a body in the Deerfield River early Tuesday morning, according to authorities. The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office did not definitively connect Tuesday’s discovery to a young woman’s presumed drowning on Sunday, but said the search for her body is not likely to continue.

“In light of this discovery, it is not anticipated that the search will continue today for the swimmer who witnesses said was trapped by a whirlpool under a dam in the Deerfield River in Conway,” wrote NWDA spokeswoman Mary Carey.

Deerfield is downstream from the Deerfield River dam between Conway and Shelburne, TransCanada’s Deerfield Number Two hydro station, where the woman is thought to have drowned while inner-tubing with others late Sunday afternoon.

“The body recovered after 6:30 a.m. this morning from the Deerfield River, near Deerfield Academy, was that of a woman. Her identity will be released once it is conclusively determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” Carey wrote.

Initially identified as a 26-year-old woman from out of state, the missing woman fell or was drawn into a vortex while inner-tubing below the dam with a group of six or seven people, according to the Conway fire chief.

Tubing is a popular pastime on the Deerfield River, but Fire Chief Robert Baker said it is not common in the area below the dam and the water there is dangerous.

John Dwinell, aquatics director for the Department of Conservation and Recreation, advised river users to stay away from the area above dams, where currents can strengthen quickly, and below, where currents can draw people in toward the churning water created by the cascade.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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