Ohio man drowns in Charley River

Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Ohio man drowned Friday on the Charley River.

Alaska State Troopers said George M. Zeiter, 41, of Sylvania, and five companions were paddling canoes and inflatable kayaks when they were flipped in high water.

Alaska State Troopers say the six men flew to the Glavin airstrip Wednesday for a float trip and left on the river Friday.

They traveled less than two miles when high, fast water flipped their boats, causing them to lose most of their gear.

The Fairbanks Flight Service on Monday notified troopers that someone had spelled out the word ''HELP'' on a blue tarp on the river about 60 miles south and east of Circle.

Troopers sent out a helicopter and located four of the six men. A fifth man was found on an island, where he had been stranded since the accident.

Troopers say the five men were in fair to good shape.

Zeiter's body was recovered a short distance from the accident site by troopers and personnel from the National Park Service.

The survivors are Ray R. Beebe, 50, of Ferrysberg, Ohio; Brian D. Hoot, 50, of Toledo, Ohio; Michael F. Kane, 54, of Bowling Green, Ohio; Robert Herman, 41, of Fostoria, Ohio; and Raymond McCloy, 51, retired and living in Largo, Fla.

Troopers said the men worked together at an automobile plant in Ohio.

Troopers said the men were all wearing personal flotation devices.

The Charley River is about 150 miles northeast of Fairbanks. It flows 88 miles northeast into the Yukon River.

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