Tourist swept away by river swollen with water from Isaac
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Wednesday August 29, 2012 – A vacationing American woman tragically fell to her death in a rushing river as she took photographs near a waterfall at a tropical rainforest in Puerto Rico.
Thirty-five-year-old Kenah Huggins, from the Bronx in New York, was visiting the scenic area with fellow holidaymakers when the tragedy unfolded on Sunday.
The accident occurred in the popular tourist spot of El Yunque National Forest near Rio Grande, an area that attracts up to one million visitors a year and is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest system.
Media reports said Huggins was apparently taking photographs in the mountain park when she slipped and lost her footing. After falling into the river, swollen with water in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac, she was swept away.
"She ended up in the pond, slipped, lost balance and fell into the water," search and rescue manager Victor Lasanta told Puerto Rican newspaper, El Nuevo Dia.
The raging waters “carried her down the waterfalls” as her friends watched helplessly, unable to reach her, Lasanta added.
The New York Daily News said Huggins' body was found a few hours after she fell. Police carried out recovery efforts at the mountain park, which sits just southeast of the island’s capital San Juan.
Puerto Rico’s tourism agency was reported to have issued a statement following the death of Huggins, warning visitors to be careful around rivers and lakes swollen with water left behind by Tropical Storm Isaac.