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Old 05-29-2006   #11
e-town, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 274
I was there after the incident occured and helped the fire guys unpin the raft. THere were two kayakers who helped him to chore, i am not sure of their names but it was a older couple ( ironically the same people who called 911 the night before). As a long time guide the one possible cause is when a person has a laryngiospasm, that is where some water, just a drop is needed hit the vocal cords and makes them spasm shut. we have all experinced this before, like water going down the right pipe. when this happens all you have to do is breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth, but as your swimming this is not easy. This is also a bad place to swim, long, bumpy and cold. As i was told they flipped, were both holding on to the downstream side of the boat and his partner told him to let go in hopes to swim the boat to shore. after that the incident is all pretty fuzzy. I hope that others can learn from this experince and that we have a safer rest of the summer!

liquidchaos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2006   #12
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4

Thanks for adding your thoughts to this sad tale Doug.

The following was posted on the "River Rescues" thread... thought it might be helpful to add it here as it seems to finish the story.

I received this email from friends who were there.

Although I had a great time on the trip, the post Yampa kayaking
> on the Eagle river near Vail had a tragedy of a rafter who was on the
> same section while we were boating. On Sat. the 27th, a raft with
> two men on it flipped while running the Edwards mile (continuous
> class III-IV) on the Eagle. Although we did not know them, their
> boat was between our lead raft/kayaker and Kim Boberschmidt and
> myself kayaking in the rear.
> Doug Blockcolsky (kayaking), Tim Perez, Chuck Boberschmidt, &
> Shellie Miller (all in lead raft) managed to get the one swimmer to
> shore after about a mile in continuous class III-IV water. The
> swimmer held on to Doug throughout the entire rapid, then lost
> consciousness. Despite heroic efforts by Doug, Chuck and Tim in the
> rescue and Tim and Chuck performing CPR, they were unable to revive
> the individual. After approximately 30 minutes, emergency personnel
> arrived and took over, but were also unable to revive him. He was
> pronounced dead at the scene. While scouting the rapid Kim and I
> found the other rafter, who had been rowing the flipped boat. We
> convinced him that his best chance at helping his buddy was for him
> to make sure rescue personnel knew that he himself was okay. I find
> this hard to write about, but feel the need to let you all know.
> Although it was high water (~2800 cfs) and serious rapids, these were
> local rafters with much experience on this river.
> I hope everyone had safe and fun trip home,
> Mark

Ralphyboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2006   #13
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 33
My condolences to the family and friends who are trying to cope with this loss and understand what might have happened.

Although I don't understand the reasons, there have been several similar cases of people on raft trips in the Grand Canyon drowning after a relatively short swim in very cold water. If I remember correctly, age seems to increase risk. At the same time, this can happen even to a young person; a trainee raft guide drowned on the Colorado recently, in a situation with an apparently excellent and very quick rescue operation and near-immediate CPR. Sometimes the stress triggers a hidden heart or other condition, sometimes it's just a bad combination of factors that add up.

Most people who run rivers like these (like your friends) understand and appreciate these risks, although most of us prefer not to think about being the one in trouble. You may never know exactly what happened.

alex is offline   Reply With Quote

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