This is a sad story that filtered through the expat community a week and a half ago.
A longtime expat in Kunming, Michael Sutherland, died in a rafting accident August 26, 2007. At least two other people, including his girlfriend, also died in the accident. Everyone was wearing safety gear, but they capsized in a dangerous stretch of the river. It’s very likely that he died trying to save his girlfriend.
Today I found an article from Michael’s hometown newspaper in Wisconsin. This is the only written account of the story that I’ve been able to find. Other stories have made the rounds here through word-of-mouth. Nothing has appeared in the Chinese press.