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Old 08-30-2010   #31
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
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Is the swimmer OK? Anyone know how he is doing?

Glad Rockinrio was able to help him the way he did and others helped when they could! That is a tramatic experience and rockinrio: you did the right thing and saved that guys life.

Breathing and a pulse but nearly drowned: I think 2 immediate rescue breaths couldn't hurt the situation (correct me if I'm wrong). Keep airway open, Treat for shock and get help then continue monitoring vitals.

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Old 08-30-2010   #32
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Front Range, "Beautiful Colorado"
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Wow, Amazing feat everyone. the only items I would like to add is if in a wilderness senario and you add water or food to the equation it can compoiund the injury for many reasons. Internal bleeding would go real bad with water being added to the system and the food can bring down energy levels further cause it takes energy to break it down.

Just wanted to add that little bit as a little food for thought... If an EMT or other profession tells me I'm incorrect in my thoughts I will learn i was taught inccorrectly and would like to know that BTW...

Besides that nice work crew and Savior very much so commendable..

" ...this is the hardest sport I've ever tried!!",E. Brown, 2003
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Old 08-30-2010   #33
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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The swimmer was reportedly OK. He was brought into Kremmling by the railroad guys from what I heard. By the time he got to the ambulance he was in much better shape and wanted to refuse the ambulance, but they took him to the hospital anyway. Heard this second hand at the takeout later in the day.
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Old 08-30-2010   #34
North Bend, Washington
Paddling Since: 2009
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First of all- amazing job on the rescue! I plan on using it as an example in my next class if that's ok.

A few thoughts from my perspective: First- I have been a lifeguard for over 20 years (a lifeguard instr for 15 of those). I have been a CPR and First Aid instr for 15 years and also teach Wilderness First Aid. I am not an EMT however.

Second: I have taken White Water Rescue and been a guide for 2 years so I've got some water experience-but it's class III and IV, not class V.

All that being said: I am impressed at how well you maintained your calm in the situation. One thing that struck me was how lucky you were. You absolutely were in the right place at the right time for that guy. Please don't second guess your actions about towing him or not. You got the job done in a way that didn't further endanger yourself. Imagine if you had attached him to your tether and something didn't go right. Then there would be 2 people in trouble with no one around to help.

If ever there is one take home message of any rescue situation- it's don't make it worse- you are the most important. You did the right thing by not tethering him. You retained your ability to help youself (by not getting out of your boat). You did everything you could right. Good job.

Regarding the near drowning question: supplimental O2 is really the only way to go. In lieu of that: a bag valve mask delivers higher concentration of O2 than plain rescue breathing (20% vs 16%).

Again- good job.
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Old 08-30-2010   #35
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
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More on "To tow or not to tow?"

Joe Keck PM'd me a story of a similar rescue on kirschbaum. Joe clipped into an unconcious victim, paddled him to shore, he wasn't breathing, they started CPR and revived him. So, clipping in to an unconcious boater has worked too. I guess its really a case by case situational thing.

Also, thanks to the couple responses about supplemental O2 for the near drowning victims. Thats all I could really find on the internet too. Sounds like having oxygen on hand might be a good idea.
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Old 08-30-2010   #36
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Originally Posted by deepsouthpaddler View Post
Lastly, I'm still wondering about what to do when you encounter a near drowning? Everyone knows you start CPR when someone isn't breathing and their heart is stopped. What do you do with a near drowning where the heart is beating, and they are breathing, but oxygenation seems low and they are in really bad shape? We pulled him out of the water and worked on getting him warm, which is the obvious start. His heart rate was 145 and he was motionless and inactive. I assumed that he was potentially hypothermic, but upon reflection he wasn't shivering, and his heart rate was too high for advanced hypothermia when shivering stops. My wife is a doctor with a pulmonary (lung) specialty. We talked about it last night. Her thoughts were that perhaps a near drowning victim has aspirated water into the lungs. Even small amounts of water can significantly reduce oxygen absorption in the lungs. Her comment was that a high heart rate could be signs that his lungs aren't working well. She noted that she would have attempted some rescue breaths to see if there was water in the lungs and to help get his oxygenation levels up. I read through my river rescue books last night and did some searching online, but didn't find a lot about near drowning care, and haven't really satisfied myself on what else you should be doing to assist near drowning victims who are on the cusp like this guy was.

My thought would be to place the person in the Recovery Position and monitor respirations and heart rate very carefully. If you have a bottle of O2, of course you would put that on them (non rebreather mask and crank the LPM), but the reality is that I don't see many of us carrying one of those bad boys in our boats. Having a few stationed strategically during the race would be a great idea.

I am basing my thoughts on what I remember from my National Ski Patrol medical training, which is very similar to EMT-Basic but with a bit more of a wilderness slant.

If the respirations become gasps instead of actual breathes, I would then start rescue breathing.

Recovery Position will help to keep them from aspirating vomit if it comes. It will also keep the brain low so we can get some oxygenated blood back to it.
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Old 08-30-2010   #37
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Boulder, Colorado
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Originally Posted by craporadon View Post
Obviously you've never set safety at toilet bowl during gore race. I have seen heavy shit go down there when it's flowing good. I think 12 swimmers the year I was there, it was like a Wild West shootout with Throwbags.
Yeah you're right on that one, but 2 safety people there should be plenty due to the huge pool that is there. I also think kirsbaum is a good place for multiple safety people, that rapid sucks ass to swim.
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Old 08-30-2010   #38
niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
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Hopefully everyone here understands the luck involved with getting this person off the river safetly. I was bagged on river left last year before the race (would have been a better idea of portage gore then put in below the drop- that's another story) but we often assume we can control everything. Just two weeks before my swim I chased a swimmer through Scissors. He might as just well had been on the moon. Had he not swam left he certainly would have run Pyrite in his vest. When I was bagged, I was fairly disoriented and was lucky enough to be hit perfectly with a bag- and still be concious. One thing here I haven't seen mentioned from SRT training- a person who has had a 'near drowning' experience SHOULD spend the night in a hospital and be monitored. Any water that enters the lungs can have a delayed fatal effect. But I leave it to the docs in this thread to explain why.
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Old 08-30-2010   #39
niwot, Colorado
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toilet safety requirements vs Gore

Originally Posted by craporadon View Post
Obviously you've never set safety at toilet bowl during gore race. I have seen heavy shit go down there when it's flowing good. I think 12 swimmers the year I was there, it was like a Wild West shootout with Throwbags.
Agreed that Toilet creates trouble. But the sheer numbers it takes to provide safety at Gore (both river left and right- and through multiple drops) makes Toilet look like a cake walk. And yes, I've bagged more my fair share of swimmers at Toilet. The rock in front of the hole assures you will be stuck in the hole- but makes for a good close proximity throw and rescue. Some front end communication helps as well- as long as boaters know that in lieu of a bag, your best bet is to self rescue by diving straight down and flush out- and I've watched plenty of stuck boaters and kayakers do exactly that- but you have to have it together mentally. The worse thing you can do is keep coming up under a raft and trying to climb on board in the hole. I've even seen people purposely (successfully) fly (dive) out of the raft when they know the hole has them in an attempt to hit the downstream water. I think the main thing about the rapid is to approach slowly enough to find the best 'runnout' then do the drop in that place- and immediately hit the downstream water. And yes I know it's easier said than done.
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Old 08-30-2010   #40
KVBA TV8 Vail weatherman/Colorado Kayaker, Colorado
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About 6 or 7 years ago I had the same scenario happen with a commercial customer on a raft trip. I was safety kayaking a trip when one larger mexican dude popped out of a raft about half way down Gore. Everyone got cleaned up there but he slipped thru the ropes. I chased him, grabbed him, pushed, you name it. As we came into Pyrite he was on the deck of my boat, totaly wiped and we dropped into the hole together. When we came out he was toasted. I had to again push, pull, drag him to the same spot this swimmer ended up. Going into the next class III rapid im fairly certain would have put him under for good. He recouped after 45 minutes of rest and was able to paddle out. Similar but different situation, esp. in the end as he paddled out.

That said, the Gore race is a major class V race and shit will happen. Even with every safety precaution the odds will eventually catch up. Who is to say what is the perfect scenario? In reality a roper with an assistant every 100 yards of the river along with one safety boater would be ideal. But is that going to happen? Everyone from racers to day trippers and even hikers into the canyon need to understand it is dangerous and also understand there is a very significant chance at injury or death in Gore Canyon, regardless of how much safety is set. It's part of it.

I decided to do two race laps Saturday. Long boat, drove back to put in, then did the short boat division. As I came into Gore rapid I looked up and there was nobody. No safety or spectators with ropes. I passed a raft on river left at the end of the rapid. That was all I saw. As I paddled in I remember thinking "shit am I tired, I hope I don't eat it here" and made the decision to go ahead and keep racing. Thankfully I didn't eat it on that run till Tunnel, the best swimming hole on the Colorado. Had I been ate up at Gore its because I decided to do it and the reponsibility is all mine. Same here. You decide to run, you face the outcome. Everyone will do their best to help, but hey, your the one going for it in the end. I don't know the backboard scenario or who was where at the time. But what I do know is if you run it and get jacked up no one twisted your arm and made you jump in a class V river. You decide to go, you eat shit, you face the consequnces. Hopefully someone can get your fat out of the fire, hopefully. Nothing different from race day as any other day on the river.

Great job on the Gore race this year to everyone that helped. Safety, organizers, Harvey with the music and Kaleb with the photos. Grassroots Colorado whitewater boat racing at its best. My sincere "get well" to the paddler that had to be carried out. And also congratulations to Jacob for hauling ass and being the fastest man of the day. It was an awesome event.


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