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Hudson River Rafting Company excursion on the upper Hudson in April 2008. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/csarva/">Chetan Sarva</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
Hudson River Rafting Company excursion on the upper Hudson in April 2008. Photo: Chetan Sarva, CC some rights reserved

Hudson River guide pleads guilty after client drowns

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A rafting guide from North Creek has pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide following the death of a client on a tributary of the Hudson River this fall.

Rory Fay of North Creek is expected to serve roughly a year behind bars after guiding a party while intoxicated.

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Reported by

Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

The Adirondack Almanack first reported that Rory Fay, who’s 37 years old, pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide and two other charges on Monday.

The charges stem from the drowning of Tamara Blake, a 53-year-old client who washed overboard from a raft in the fall on a stretch of the Indian River in the southern Adirondacks.

Her body floated downstream and was later found in a stretch of the upper Hudson.

According to the Almanack, Fay reached a deal with Hamilton County district attorney Marsha Purdue.

Fay also admitted to driving his clients in a van without a license while under the influence of alcohol.

Fay has been in jail since late September and is scheduled to be formally sentenced in January. He’s expected to serve roughly twelve months behind bars, while also giving up his guiding license.

Fay's employer Pat Cunningham, the owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company, still faces misdemeanor charges in the incident. Source: HRRC
Fay's employer Pat Cunningham, the owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company, still faces misdemeanor charges in the incident. Source: HRRC
Fay worked for the Hudson River Rafting Company, which operates whitewater excursions on the Black, the Moose, the Sacandaga, the Indian and the Hudson Rivers.

So far, state officials have allowed company owner Pat Cunningham to keep his license to operate.

But according to the Associated Press, Cunningham still faces misdemeanor reckless endangerment charges for improperly guiding tourists.

The controversy surrounding the Hudson River Rafting Company has given a black eye to a tourism industry that attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the North Country each year.

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