Originally Posted by Tom Martin
A commercial J-Rig left 18 passengers at Phantom Ranch on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon this afternoon and took itself on downriver. The boat was recovered and parked at Salt Creek, only five miles below Phantom. A commercial motor rig is leaving Lee's Ferry tomorrow morning to dead head the 88 miles to Phantom Ranch to pick up the commercial trip members. The passengers will be lodged at the Ranch in the meantime. The boat has little damage and though not confirmed, reports indicate the boat and its cargo of river gear is intact. The companies name is not being released at this time.
You all remember to tie up your boats, K?
If it truly was 18 "passengers", then with crew that would take it to 20, and the only rig licensed to carry that many "souls" is Western River Expeditions. If it was 18 "souls" (passengers and crew) then it could be any number or commercial motor rigs. My guess is that it is the latter.
Where the motor rigs tie up at Havasu there used to be a rock column, similar to the one in the picture below, where the rock had eroded enough behind to get a rope around it. I have seen as many as 6 motor rigs tied up to it at one time. The first trip one spring it was completely gone. I never did hear how many rigs were tied up to it when it failed.
On my last private trip we were doing an exchange at Pipe Creek and I was awakened from a deep sleep by the shouts of one of our group saying that a boat had gotten lose. One of my brothers and my nephew took off after it and caught it before the bottom of the rapid and then pulled over to the left and sat in the hot sun for 4 hours waiting for the hikers to all come in. I was so deep in sleep when it all happened that I couldn't have given a raft's aft what happened to it, even though it was my
backup boat that my brother was rowing for that trip.