Woman dies in inner-tubing accident on Nisqually River

A Lacey woman died Sunday in an Olympia hospital after a Saturday accident in the Nisqually River, authorities said.

Ilona Mohs-Peissner, 58, was inner-tubing with her teenage grandson when she apparently lost her grip and had to be rescued, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

She died early Sunday at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, where she was taken after bystanders performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The Thurston County Coroner’s Office identified the woman and said an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death would take place Tuesday morning.

On Saturday, witnesses heard commotion and found Mohs-Peissner hanging onto a snag near the Riverbend Campground with her 14-year-old grandson. Neither was wearing a life vest, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The boy got to the shore and was not hurt. But his grandmother lost her grip, floated down the river and got caught on the root ball of a fallen tree, deputies said.

The fast current kept witnesses from reaching Mohs-Peissner on foot, even though the water was only a couple of feet deep, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Others got to her with a boat, pulled her in and started CPR.

“Everybody who was involved in that were trying really hard to help them out,” sheriff’s spokesman Cliff Ziesemer said. “The river was going so fast that they couldn’t maintain footholds and kept falling.”

Medics met the group at the shore and took Mohs-Peissner to the hospital.