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. 

[WATCH: Family says woman who drowned in Verde River had heart of gold]

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. 

A GoFundMe account has been setup to help the family during this time.

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.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(15) comments


So sad. And the rude and insensitive comments are just horrid.

Wayne kenoff

Some of these comments are mind-boggling

Comment deleted.
Agustus Gloop

She's a beautiful, young person that never had anything bad to say about anyone. Need more like her and less (none) like you.


Another gofundme beggar I see. How can a family go begging when they lose someone?


If you are too poor or just to cheap to donate then the best thing to do is keep your two cents to yourself and shove them right up your miserable rear end. I for one have a hard time donating money to anyone. Although I feel horrible for this families tragic loss. For every person like me there are 5 generous people who balance it out. If the family ask for donations and people are willing to donate then God bless both sides. Also may God bless you and shed some love on your failed at life miserable soul. Your misery and poison only goes as far as your post.

Agustus Gloop

Very well said, thanks!!![thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]


I've kayaked the Needle Rock area, and there are some nasty overhanging tree branches that will catch you, turn you sideways, and then flip you. They are no fun and if you are only in swim suit, very very dangerous.

Wayne kenoff

Was she wearing a life vest?


I'm sorry for your lost


That river is pretty powerful in spots. And rocky.


Probably drunk.


And you’re probably a dumbass.


You PROVED you are Shiftey


Dean your a jack a-ss


Prob hit head on a rock got knocked out[crying]

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