So lets look at the comments of the author as to the # of red flags:
Filled with dread, we speculated about the potential consequences, sketching out all kinds of doom and gloom outcomes: hefty fines of several thousand dollars, a trip of a lifetime cut short for the passengers, the rented boat damaged beyond repair or lost completely, our names blacklisted for life, erasing all hope of getting another permit for this spectacular place.
That is some selfish crap right there. Their biggest concerns were fines and/or permit issues in the future. That is not expedition mentality but that of a party. Helicopter rescues are inherently risky, especially a long-line one conducted in the middle of a rapid. Their biggest concerns should have been that of the helicopter crew and their own members stuck mid-river followed then by the further success of a trip hampered by lost essential gear. This flippant attitude should be troubling to anyone that cares about access.
Our 16-foot Sotar raft was hopelessly pinned against the giant boulder at the mouth of Hance. Aboard were Collinís father Mike and Dannyís uncle Perry, older members of our crew we did not want to see swimming through the rock-strewn whitewater.
Every decision is critical in a 16+ day expedition and it seems they were already making errors by Day 5. Why were the only occupants of the raft people of such concern? If it was so obvious they could not handle the risk of the rapid than why were there not other people on board to help? In a sport with a mantra of "rig and dress to swim" why is it acceptable to have people in a situation like this? I know there are rapids of consequence where swimming and flipping are not considered a viable option but Hance is not one of them. Its a nasty beast but its mostly a long Class III with big features.
I am still amazed that this made the cut for National Geo. I know its not a whitewater publication but its full of so much "Woo" and so little accountability and introspection. Even the language in the closing sentence is about a "slap on the wrist" not about lessons learned from a major incident.
Still just shaking my head on this one. And I fall back on the criticism that it all is about a stupid rock in the author's mind.