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Old 07-08-2008   #1
Bruceton Mills, West Virginia
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 37
AW Preliminary Whitewater Fatality List

Your comments, correections, and additions are welcome.
Charlie Walbridge, American Whitewater Database Manager
ccwalbridge (at)

American Whitewater 2008 Whitewater Fatalities
Preliminary List

07-0IIID Wm Studebaker 61 Kayak E. Fk S. Fork Salmon V Flush Drowning
0PA PA Dale Herrick57 Kayak Schulkill River FW Grabloop Tucked In
06-MMT Kimo Jackson 27 Raft Blackfoot River No PFD
06-2ORCynthia Vontungein 52 IK Rogue River Canyon IV Caught in sieve
06-2IIINShingo Takura30 Kayak White River X Dam Hydraulic
06COCO Marcus Martin43 Comm Raft Brown’s Canyon Arkansas R. IV Flush-Drowning
06-22CO Volker Beer 70 Kayak Arkansas nr Buena Vista III Flush-Drowning
06-21CAUnidentified Woman ? Kayak Kings River I No PFD, Solo Pad
06-20CO Justin Brindley 30 IK Colorado R.; Lower Gore Canyo III Not Known
06-19COJames Kennedy61 Comm Raft Arkansas R. nr. Salida III Flush-Drowning
06-18YUK CAN Joe & Jerry Leffel 58, 18 Raft Alsek River IV Flush-Drowning
06-17COOscar Stevenson67 Comm Raft Arkansas River Nr Buena Vista III Flush-Drowning
06-1cCORichard Banks45 IK Colorado Rnr South Canyon III Flush-Drowning
M T Dave Dedmon53 Raft East Fork Bitterroot R. Strainer
06-14WITroy Mikula30 Kayak PoppleMorgan Lake Rd to Pine R. Solo Paddling
06-0OORFin Terry11 Canoe ClackamasR. Below Mill Dam II Entangled in rope
06-01BC CANBen Earle25 Kayak Finn Creek III Strainer
06-01ORRobert Blight42 Raft Rogue River Canyon III No PFD
05-31CODr. M. Dennington57 Raft Gunnison Rabove Blue Mesa Res No PFD
05-28ORR. Winters22 Raft Willamette River Nr Coburg No PFD
05-26MTAlvestad J. Rayman48 & 44 Raft Dearborn RiverIII Below Hwy 287 Flush Drowning
05-2CCOSubhashi Nelakurthi26 Comm Raft Royal Gorge Arkansas R. IV Flush-Drowning
05-25MEWalter Cruz53 Comm Raft W. Br. Penobscot IV Health Prob
05-24WAKenneth Clark44 Raft Cle Elum Riverabove Cle Elum Res Strainer
05-24WVNicholas Harcun32 Comm Raft Cheat RiverCanyon IV Flush Drown; Health Prob
Cha rWV Charles Brown70 Comm Raft New River Gorge IV Flush Drown; Health Prob
05-18WAMike Stano45 Kayak Green River Gorge V Caught in sieve
0 WVVicki Miller-Savard42 Comm Raft Cheat R. CanyonIV Foot Entrapment
05-04AR Will Davenport 7 canoe Buffalo River I Strainer
03-22MO Marion Cox 51 Kayak Center Creek Entrapment
03-1 AZRandall Johnson45 Raft Grand Canyon Colo. R.IV Flush-drowning
04-17WAKiernan Norman18 canoe Spokane River II PFD Not Worn
04-17VTDavid Holcombe24 Kayak West River III Flush Drowning

Kayak: 10; Canoe: 3; Raft: 9; Commercial Raft: 8; IK: 3; Total 34

13 Flush Drowning; 6 PFD not worn or used; 4 Strainer or sieve

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Old 07-08-2008   #2
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Front Range, Colorado
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What exactly do they mean be "Flush Drowning."

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Old 07-08-2008   #3
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Bozeman, Montana
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people are swept down stream and can not get out of the current and drown. condolences
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Old 07-08-2008   #4
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Front Range, Colorado
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Ok got ya, sorta what I was thinking, but I wanted to be sure. Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2008   #5
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Means it was a protracted swim where the victim died because they could not get out of the water and continued exposure, exhaustion, and dipping below the water surface contributed to death rather than something like a pin or sieve that might hold someone in place underneath the water.

Originally Posted by nmalozzi View Post
What exactly do they mean be "Flush Drowning."
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Old 07-08-2008   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
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Is it alarming that 9 of the 34 deaths were in colorado. Or just the sheer volume of boaters on our rivers. What is the yearly average for colorado?
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Old 07-08-2008   #7
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
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Posts: 2,405
This didn't include the 2 deaths on the Poudre this season. There was a death on the bridge below BTO from a private boater getting pinned by a wrapped boat and there was a tuber with no PFD that died closer to town. I believe both have been discussed on this forum.
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Old 07-08-2008   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Sobering news as always, but a good service to the boating community. Thanks for posting.

Its amazing how many folks die from no PFD's. Thats one statistic that should be so easy to whittle down to zero, but yet it happens every year.

Its also interesting to see how many flush drownings were from commercial passengers or inexperienced boaters (IK on the colorado river). My gut feel is that a seasoned boater with good dry gear and good self rescue practice could get out of the river in many of these situations.

I think the large number of colorado incidents is due to high numbers of commercial passengers and a high water year.

Hopefully the continued focus AW has on safety awarness will help reduce future accidents.
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Old 07-08-2008   #9
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
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The Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,134
My fiance took a commercial trip on the Ark over the fourth.
I wasn't along, as I was on the Taylor, so I told her "wear your PFD and helmet tight"

I was amazed when she told me that wearing a helmet wasn't mandatory (she wore hers, as well as all the gear they offered, at my insistence).

Commercial raft companies don't require a helmet?
"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label
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Old 07-08-2008   #10
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 263
Originally Posted by heliodorus04 View Post
Commercial raft companies don't require a helmet?
I've seen several commercial rafts on the Ark with no one wearing helmets and I was surprised to see that as well...

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