All water can be dangerous. All rivers have potential to be deadly. Whitewater rafters and kayakers take these risk every time they put in. I'm positive Kim knew this the day she took her final river ride. This tragedy is more complicated than most deaths (river or not) in the fact that, after 37 days, her body has yet to be recovered.
The rescue effort attempted on August 18th, as told in the news reports, used over 65 people from 9 different Search and Rescue agencies. The water level was dropped from 600-700 to below 160 CFS. I have heard that the depth of the water was 4 feet (but still, even at what seems like a low height of water, unbelievably powerful, difficult to work in, overwhelming, dangerous, unforgiving). The search techniques used were advanced, well thought out and well-executed by professionals that train year-round. For 10 hours, the water level was dropped and the teams exhausted their bodies, minds and resources. These are the top SAR teams in the world using techniques and equipment that are on the cutting edge of any modern water rescue. No trace of Kim was found.
I do not believe sections of river should be modified to make the river "safer." I do support altering the Frog Rock rapid so no one ever has to console a friend's parent again, at a memorial service, instead of a funeral, because their daughter disappeared without a trace. If you disappeared into Frog Rock, your family would not have your body, there could be no death certificate issued, and your loved ones would have no legal rights to anything, such as your skis, bike, car, bank account. Imagine trying to hassle with lawyers, courts, red tape and cross border jurisdictions while mourning for someone that isn't proven "dead." It twists my stomach to think about.
When you die, whether its in the great outdoors doing something you love or as an old man in your sleep, you want your family, friends and loved ones to scatter your ashes or put you 6-feet under the dirt. Kim and the Frog Rock rapid is proof that we take this "right" for granted. Deadly rapids will kill people as long as we still run rivers but Frog Rock rapid is unique because it is a selfish bastard that takes and takes, giving nothing in return. No body, no answers, no proof, no reassurance that, should you pass, you would be recovered. I know it's unrealistic, but I hope 20 years from now, I'll run into Kim on a remote beach in Mexico. Thank you to all SAR personnel, everywhere. I sincerely hope Kim's family and friends can accept her disappearance and continue to live.
Edit: I do appreciate both sides of the debate and I feel like, should the powers that be (official or renegade) ever consider options for altering Frog Rock, this thread would present many valid ideas and point/counterpoints for each side of the argument. Also good to hear hawaiirock's questions, as I think every accident presents a learning opportunity.