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Old 05-29-2007   #11
I kayak DH.
Waterwindpowderrock's Avatar
Greater tri cities metro area, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 794
[QUOTE=heliodorus04;68974] not important right now.

unless it had to do with lack of preparedness of the crew. It sounds like that's not the case, so that's good that it's not a liability issue hopefully for the company. There's worse ways to go than a heart attack in the water though, I hope his family is coping well.

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Old 05-30-2007   #12
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How aweful.
First year raft guide dies during training exercises

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Old 05-30-2007   #13
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
The heart attack was the previous death in the Royal Gorge, not this one.

Yea, it is a shame how something like a short swim in Pinball can cause a death. It's hard to imagine and shows how quickly things can go bad.

This brings back a memory when I was just starting to go kayaking. I was going through a class III rapid, having fun and screaming. A wave hit me and I inhaled a mouthful of water. It took me 30 seconds to start breathing again, which felt like 2 minutes, and then I only started breathing slowly. I realized that if I had flipped during those 30 seconds I would have been in trouble and may well have blacked out in the water. Or, if I had inhaled water during a swim, I also may have been toast.

I note that the guy who died was older, like me. We don't have the cardio-vascular capability of some of you young guys. We can't hold our breaths for 60 seconds.

A shame.
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Old 05-30-2007   #14
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 40
Report-Mountain Mail 5/30

5/30/2007 6:35:00 AM Email this article Print this article First year raft guide dies during training exercises

by Jason Starr
Mail Staff Writer

Brian Kirkwood, 47 of Buena Vista, who died in the Arkansas River in Browns Canyon Monday, was a first-year raft guide undergoing standard training exercises with American Adventure Expeditions.

Kirkwood, whose name was released Tuesday, was with other guides from the Johnson Village outfitting company.

A Texas native, he had been in Buena Vista less than two weeks.

"It's tough because he was a member of our staff," American Adventure Expeditions owner Mike Kissack said.

"He was a great guy, so we all have heavy hearts over here. Our thoughts are with his family and with everyone who knew him."

An autopsy was performed Tuesday morning, but Chaffee County Coroner Randy Amettis said cause of death won't be known for approximately two weeks.

Amettis said Kirkwood was participating in an exercise in which trainees enter the river, swim about 100 yards, then leave the river. The exercise was being conducted in Class III Pinball Rapid in Browns Canyon.

Amettis said Kirkwood became unconscious while swimming.

Chaffee County Sheriff's Deputies, Colorado State Parks Rangers and Chaffee County Emergency Medical Services personnel responded.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was administered. Kirkwood was pronounced dead at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center.

All outfitters on the Arkansas River conduct new guide training and veteran refreshers this time of year, Bob Hamel of Arkansas River Outfitters Association said.

Hamel, who owns Arkansas River Tours of Cotopaxi, said the swimming exercise in which Kirkwood was participating is designed to familiarize guides with what guests experience if and when they fall into the river during a raft trip.

"You do it in a controlled environment so guides experience it because it's inevitable that guests will swim," Hamel said. "Guides need to know what that's like."

The death Monday was the second fatality in the Upper Arkansas River this season. A Boulder man drowned May 19 during a commercial rafting trip in the Royal Gorge.

My heart goes out to family and friends
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Old 05-30-2007   #15
possumturd's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 451
Originally Posted by basil View Post
I note that the guy who died was older, like me. We don't have the cardio-vascular capability of some of you young guys. We can't hold our breaths for 60 seconds.
A shame.
This brings up a good point:
I am 49 this year. I boat in the summer and race cyclocross in the fall. CX runs your max heart rate at about 90% for 45 minutes . Between that and boating I figured i needed to get a physical every year. I just had mine done last week. Everything came back good except my good cholesterol
is low (been that way as long as i can remember). So they got me on Niacin to try and get it up. This year they did an EKG which checked out good but the docs want more data. So they are prescribing a stress test. Also there is a new procedure out (heart scan?) that will not be covered under insurance but it's not that expensive from what I hear. It's similar to an MRI of your heart where they can visual identify blockage areas. I plan on having that done as well. If I don't completely check out I will backing it off a notch or two .
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Old 05-30-2007   #16
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 16
I saw something interesting on Brown's Friday p.m. At the Stonebridge takeout, one swimmer after another came to the boat ramp. I presumed it was a training excercise for guides. All of a sudden, one swimmer was on the complete opposite side of the river with her arm up waving for a throw rope. She wasn't even trying to swim towards shore... not either side. We were all yelling, "Swim, Swim." I was shocked. Both throw ropes were short of her and she swam for quite a while until guides got back in their boat, paddled out to her and got her back in. As cold as that water is, her system too could have shut down.

I can't remember the name of the company and I am not suggesting this was the same group. I am just saying I was suprised at what I had seen and thought that others could learn from this.

Pinball seems like an easy swim at these levels but if you don't know how to get to shore, you can run out of energy pretty quick.

My condolences to friends and family.

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