Woman Drowns Below Hungry Horse Dam

By Beacon Staff

HUNGRY HORSE (AP) – A Georgia woman drowned Sunday in northwestern Montana after her canoe overturned on the South Fork of the Flathead River below Hungry Horse Dam.

Teresa Yawn, 43, was canoing with her fiance, Ian Joubert, both of Gainesville, Ga..

“They were here visiting his parents” in Columbia Falls, said Sheriff’s Lt. Bob Provo, a deputy Flathead County coroner.

The couple launched a canoe in the river below the dam, just upstream from a section called “Devil’s Elbow.”

“They were in the water for about two minutes when their canoe flipped over,” Provo told the Daily Inter Lake newspaper in Kalispell. “They were unfamiliar with the area, so they went in on one of the most hazardous parts of the river without life jackets.”

Yawn and Joubert were able to swim to the west shore of the river, where there are no roads.

“They decided to swim back to the east shore to get back to where the road is,” Provo said. “She made it about halfway across and was exhausted and got swept down the river.”

Joubert dove back in and tried to save Yawn, but could not reach her.

Flathead sheriff’s dispatch got a 911 call at 3:05 p.m., reporting that a person was missing in the river.

Yawn and the canoe were swept through Devil’s Elbow, a torrential and tight turn in the river with rock walls on either shoreline. With a deceptively shallow appearance, the turn in the river drops through solid bedrock and is actually deeper than 40 feet in some places with harsh currents.

A North Valley Search and Rescue boat, launched at about 3:40 p.m., was able to recover Yawn’s body.

Two years ago, a man drowned in the same stretch of water.