Andrea Yealy was 16 when she hopped in a two-person inflatable kayak rented by a friend’s family on Sept. 16, 2000, at Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County. They paddled without a guide down a 7-mile section known as the Lower Yough.

Andrea was wearing a helmet and life jacket when she spilled out of her kayak at Dimple Rock, a notorious hazard in the river that can overturn rafts, and was swept under the water’s surface. She died.

Since her daughter’s death, Michele Yealy has turned to awareness of the dangerous of the white waters of the Youghio­gheny River at Ohiopyle.

There have been more incidental deaths along the river. Fifteen people died in the Lower Yough while rafting or kayaking between 1982 and 2022 from according to the American Whitewater database despite inquests and calls for enhanced safety protocols and more fully-guided options.

In this episode, host Zac Gibson and reporter Renatta Signorini tell the story of what happened to Andrea and her mother’s fight to be awareness to the dangers, and discuss the rough path to safety protocol changes for outfitters who offer commercial whitewater rafting trips along the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle.

This is From the Newsroom.

Posted in From The TribLIVE Newsroom