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Hudson River Rafting Company owner faces more charges

December 21, 2012
MIKE LYNCH , Lake Placid News

The owner of the North Creek-based Hudson River Rafting Co. is facing more charges involving his business.

Patrick Cunningham was charged with two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment Tuesday, Dec. 11 for allegedly abandoning two clients on the Hudson River on May 27. There are two counts because there were two people involved. Both counts are misdemeanors.

The 32-year-old man and 36-year-old woman, both of New York City, were allegedly required to navigate 4 miles of river near North Creek on their own after Cunningham walked away from them.

Cunningham's business has come under scrutiny in recent years, and its guiding license was suspended by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in October. The shutdown came about a month after an Ohio woman drowned while on a trip set up by his company.

The guide who led the trip, Rory Fay, pleaded guilty last month to criminally negligent homicide. Fay was drunk when he and client Tamara Blake, 53, were thrown into the rapids of the Indian River on Sept. 27. Her boyfriend was also on the boat.

Hamilton County District Attorney Marsha Purdue said Cunningham also faces reckless endangerment charges from two incidents in August of 2010. In one case, Cunningham is accused of sending people down the river in an inflatable kayak instead of a raft. In the other, he allegedly send a raft full of children down the river without sufficient guides.

Those charges had been dismissed by a county judge but were restored last month because Cunningham was found to have violated the terms of the agreement made to get the dismissal. The May incidents led the charges to be restored, Purdue said.

Cunningham has denied the charges, according to the Associated Press.



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