FAIRBANKS—Two people died this week on a guided rafting trip in the Brooks Range, according to a news release from the North Slope Borough.

At about 1:50 p.m. Wednesday the borough Department of Search and Rescue in Barrow received a report of a boat capsizing 75 miles south of Kaktovik, on the Kongakut River. Two people from the raft were reported missing. Kaktovik is located on the Beaufort Sea, 380 miles northeast of Fairbanks.

The borough and the Alaska Air National Guard launched a joint search and rescue mission and safely recovered eight people from the group. They were transported to Deadhorse.

The Air National Guard recovered the bodies of two of the two missing rafters at about 10:16 a.m. Thursday. They've been identified as Cheryl Minnehan, 69, of Elk Grove, California, and Karen Todd, 67, of Sparks, Nevada. The North Slope Police Department has opened an investigation into their deaths.

The party was on a guided trip with Alaska Alpine Adventures, an Anchorage-based company that's been in business since 1998. The company's website describes the Kongakut River float as a $5,495 12-day trip that's based out of Fairbanks. It describes the float as mainly class II water with sections of class III rapids.

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