PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5)-- A 25-year-old woman died after her tube flipped over in the Verde River Saturday afternoon.
The incident occurred just before 4 p.m. near the Needle Rock area.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Joanna Pacheco Sereno, 25, and three other people were floating on tubes when she capsized, causing her to go under and down the river.
According to witnesses, Sereno's head hit a large branch of a tree, causing her to fall off the tube before entering the water.
The three other people also entered the water after their tubes got caught up in the branches, but were able to make it to shore safely.
MCSO Aviation Deputies responded and located Sereno's body almost an hour later.
The incident is under investigation.
Sereno's family said she was a good swimmer, but a life jacket could have saved her life.
"I was with her the day on the river," said Sereno's sister, Arely Milian. "I remember she was just so happy. I even have a picture of her from that day, and she was always just smiles no matter what she was going through."
Deputies do not think alcohol caused the accident.
"We looked for her," said Milian. "Everybody looked for her at the river. We were there for hours looking, and hoping and praying. But we know she’s home now. And we’re trying to stay strong for her because I know that’s what she would have wanted us to do."
Sereno's family said she loved children, was the life of the party and had a great sense of humor.
"My sister just had a heart of gold,"said another sister, Denise Pacheco. "Cared for everyone more than she did herself."
The Sheriff's Office said the Verde River is not recommended for tubing. The trees and rapids make it much more dangerous than the Salt River.