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Memorial service turns into tragedy

Memorial service turns into tragedy

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WISE RIVER (AP) - A Nevada woman drowned Sunday afternoon during a memorial service to scatter her son's ashes on the Big Hole River near this southwestern Montana community.

Cora Rader, 63, of Winnemucca, Nev., and six others were thrown from a raft after it hit a support pillar at the Jerry Creek Bridge, about three miles west of Wise River, said Beaverhead County Undersheriff Keith Reeder.

Rader was pulled to the bottom of the swiftly moving river, and her life jacket became entangled in a submerged tree, Reeder said. Her body was recovered three hours after the accident.

Craig Allan Nickels, 38, had requested that his ashes be scattered on the river, ''because that was where he had floated and hunted since he was a little boy," said his sister, Tina Rader of Butte. She said her brother, 38, of Casper, Wyo., was born and grew up in Butte. He died Dec. 29.

Two people suffered hypothermic shock Sunday from falling into the 36-degree water, Reeder said. Tina Rader said Monday they had been released from the hospital.

At least four other family members in a second boat witnessed the accident and managed to get to shore and find help. Family members had gathered from Butte, Wyoming, Rhode Island and Washington.

The six rafters who were swept downstream were rescued with the combined efforts of area anglers and about 50 search and rescue personnel from Beaverhead and Butte-Silver Bow counties, said Butte Silver-Bow Search and Rescue Commander Brad Belke.

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