The body of a California woman who drowned during a Friday boating accident in the lower Rogue River Canyon remained pinned underwater Monday and authorities were unsure when they could recover it.

The body of a California woman who drowned during a Friday boating accident in the lower Rogue River Canyon remained pinned underwater Monday and authorities were unsure when they could recover it.

The force of higher-than-normal water flows within the Rogue's Blossom Bar rapid have been so strong that rescue teams from the water, the rocks and the air have been unable to recover victim Cynthia Lee Vontungeln's (see correction note below) body during treacherous attempts, police said.

"I'm not sure we'll be able to get her out because we can't get to her," Curry County Sheriff John Bishop said Monday evening. "We may just have to let nature take its course and see if the water drops."

An experienced rafter, Vontungeln, 52, from Irvine, Calif., (see correction note below) and 38-year-old Michelle Shillinglaw, from Austin, Texas, were part of a large guided party floating the 34-mile section from Grave Creek to Foster Bar, deputies said. Both were wearing lifejackets, police said.

At Blossom Bar, Vontungeln and Shillinglaw attempted to paddle a single inflatable kayak through the class IV rapid, but they hit a rock and capsized while attempting to pass the Picket Fence set of rocks on the rapid's upper end, deputies said.

Witnesses said both women initially were sucked underwater for about 20 seconds before Shillinglaw was able to free herself, Bishop said. One witness told deputies Vontungeln pushed Shillinglaw free before Vontungeln's body became stuck in the rocks, Bishop said.

Her body remained submerged and visible about a foot underwater, Bishop said.

"Obviously, this is one of the worst (river accidents) I can remember," Bishop said.

Shillinglaw was rescued and taken by ambulance to the Curry General Hospital, where she was treated for shock and released.

One guide in the party attempted to rescue Vontungeln, but he became stranded on a rock, deputies said. When Bishop and Deputy Ted Heath tried to rescue him in a department jetboat, the boat stalled and the pair almost had to leap into the water before Heath restarted the boat and prevented a crash, Bishop said.

Two helicopters from Jackson County also aided in weekend attempts to recover the body, but efforts all failed, Bishop said.

Vontungeln was the second person to drown in the Blossom Bar area in June.

On June 1, a San Jose man drowned while he and another man tried to swim across the river near Paradise Lodge after their raft had drifted away. That victim was not wearing a personal flotation device at the time.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.

Correction: The original version of this story misspelled the last name of Cynthia Vontungeln and listed an incorrect California city for her residence. This version has been corrected.