Afriend of mine that lives in VT reported that story to me yesterday, I believe he said it was the Winooski river. Last October a Kayaker was lost here in NH during the October storms, I believe they have yet to find his body.
I don't care how good a paddler you are, if you are out in storm swollen rivers you are asking for trouble PFD or not. Flood waters are extreamly powerful & unpredictable. Pity your brothers friends had to find out the hard way