A candlelight vigil to honor the life of a 30-year-old woman who died in a boating accident on the Colorado River was planned for Friday night in Hemet.
Family and friends planned to gather in Simpson Park on Rawlings Road at 7 p.m. in remembrance of Tasha Turner, who they say drowned after saving the lives of her daughter and boyfriend, who had planned to propose to her that day.
The three set out on a 19-foot closed-bow vessel with three other, unidentified passengers to go tubing on Aug. 5 near the town of Big River on the California-Arizona border, according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Officials say the boat was driven by Umberto Bagnara, a 52-year-old resident of Beaumont.
Around 6:30 p.m., the boat lost power, “became swamped” and began sinking, deputies said.
Though the six others on the boat were able to swim away from the sinking craft, Turner was tangled up in a ski rope that was tied to the vessel. Unable to free herself, she was pulled under with the sinking boat, according to sheriff’s officials.
Norris Salah wrote on the fundraising page she set up to raise money for Turner’s funeral and family that Turner’s boyfriend surprised her by planning the tubing trip in celebration of her birthday. He had a second surprise up his sleeve he never go to reveal, she said: A marriage proposal.
Since her boyfriend couldn’t swim, Turner wound up saving him and her 8-year-old daughter, Genesis, before being dragged underwater, according to Salah.
“Tasha lived every day for her family and friends inspiring and touching everyone she crossed paths with,” Salah wrote on the page. “Whether you grew up with her or you only met her once, she inspired and lifted you to always be better.”
A dive team from the La Paz County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona was able to locate the boat the same night it sank but had to return the next morning to search for Turner’s body due to strong currents and poor light. Both the ship and Turner’s body were recovered after the rescue crew returned the morning of Aug. 6.
San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials are continuing to investigate the incident.