At first, it sounded like a tragic story with a very predictable moral. A 46 year old male kayaker capsized, while not wearing a lifejacket, and was believed to have drowned. His 36 year old female paddling partner, who was wearing a life jacket, also ended up in the water, but survived. The moral of the story — always wear a life jacket. While part of this account may be accurate, it now appears that the tale is darker and more disturbing. Angelika Graswald, the female kayaker, has been charged with 2nd degree murder in the death of Vincent Viafore, her fiancé and fellow kayaker.
On April 19th, a Sunday evening, about an hour after sunset, Angelika Graswald called 911. She and her fiancée, Vincent Viafore, had been kayking in the Hudson River about 50 miles north of New York City. They were paddling back from Bannerman’s Island to Plum Point when Grawald said that her fiancé’s kayak capsized in choppy water and high winds. Graswald said that she also capsized while attempting to help Viafore. When the police arrived they rescued Graswald, sending her to a local hospital for treatment for hypothermia. They also recovered both kayaks. Viafore has not been found, despite extensive searching over the following week.
At first the police took Graswald at her word, beleiving that she was a survivor of a tragic accident. After further questioning, however, and a visit to the scene, the police found her story to be inconsistent. On Wednesday, Orange County prosecutors charged Angelika Graswald with murder.
See also a related post, Frozen Beauty – A Winter Morning on the Hudson River, for drone video footage of Bannerman’s Island.