RRFW Riverwire - Motorboat parks in Crystal Rapid for the night - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 07-23-2008   #1
 
Tom Martin's Avatar
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 920
RRFW Riverwire - Motorboat parks in Crystal Rapid for the night

RRFW Riverwire - Motorboat parks in Crystal Rapid for the night
July 23, 2008

A 37 foot long motorized tour boat traversing the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park and operated by river concessionaire Canyoneers ran aground in the Crystal Rapid Rock Garden yesterday afternoon. The Crystal Rapid Rock Garden is at river mile 99, approximately eleven miles downstream of Phantom Ranch. A National Park Service representative noted the boat was carrying 13 passengers and two crew members when the accident occurred. The crew members called for help to Grand Canyon National Park approximately 5:20 in the afternoon.

A rescue operation was launched, but the passengers and crew spent the night on the craft in the rapid, as darkness prevented attempts to get the stranded river runners to shore.

Early this morning, the National Park Service flew an 18 foot motorized rescue boat to the scene and used it to remove the passengers from the motorboat. This was the first time the NPS had used this rescue craft to remove stranded passengers. The rescue craft is deflated and bundled in a helicopter sling load, ready for rapid dispatch at times of need.

According to NPS personnel, this craft is being tried for just this situation, eliminating the need to extract people off of stranded boats with the use of a helicopter, a rescue technique known as a short haul. This rescue technique of being lifted off a stranded boat by an overhead helicopter is one of the most dangerous rescue techniques conducted in the park, and often disturbs passengers so much they request to be removed from the river trip.

As the park’s regular helicopter was undergoing maintenance, a helicopter with a smaller payload capacity was used to transport personnel and equipment from the South Rim to Crystal Rapid. Three flights were used to bring in personnel, and three flights were used to bring in equipment.

Once the passengers were removed from the Canyoneers boat with the rescue boat, the rescuers were able to set a fixed line to shore. Using a five to one pulley system, the NPS rescue team hauled the motorboat off the rocks.

In the event that the rescue might have been prolonged, Grand Canyon National Park staff began notifying river runners at Lee’s Ferry and Phantom Ranch about the navigational hazard. River runners who approached Crystal Rapid during the rescue were contacted by park staff and only allowed to proceed to run the rapid as rescue operations allowed.

No injuries were reported to passengers, crew, or NPS personnel, and the commercial group continued its trip this afternoon. No passengers asked to leave the Canyoneers river trip, and Park staff were pleased at how smoothly the rescue was conducted.

Flows from Glen Canyon Dam are between 11,000 and 17,000 cubic feet per second. During 2000 to 2004, the NPS conducted 4 short-haul operations for motorized tour boats stranded in the Colorado River’s rapids, once at Unkar Rapid, once at Horn Creek Rapid, and twice at Crystal Rapid.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~
RIVERWIRE is a free service to the community of river lovers from River Runners for Wilderness. To join, send an e-mail address to [email protected] and we'll add it to the RRFW RIVERWIRE e-mail alerts list.

Join RRFW's listserver to stay abreast of and participate in the latest river issues. It's as easy as sending a blank e-mail to [email protected].

Check out RRFW's Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki for free information on Do-It-Yourself Grand Canyon rafting info http://www.rrfw.org/RaftingGrandCanyon/Main_Page.

Visit us at www.rrfw.org , check out new store offerings and donate at the RRFW Store! RRFW is a non-profit project of Living Rivers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Old 07-24-2008   #2
 
DanRauer's Avatar
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 137
Tom,

As always, thanks for any posts concerning the Grand. This past March I was on a trip where we had a boat flip in Crystal. The boat got pinned upside down on the rock garden. We had no choice but to leave it and continue downriver to try to contact the Park Service. Unfortunately, our sat phone was on that pinned boat. In the night, the boat dislodged and heading down river. We chased the boat for two days and it went over 26 miles through all the "gems." Bad spot to place a boat for sure.

Dan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Martin View Post
RRFW Riverwire - Motorboat parks in Crystal Rapid for the night
July 23, 2008

A 37 foot long motorized tour boat traversing the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park and operated by river concessionaire Canyoneers ran aground in the Crystal Rapid Rock Garden yesterday afternoon. The Crystal Rapid Rock Garden is at river mile 99, approximately eleven miles downstream of Phantom Ranch. A National Park Service representative noted the boat was carrying 13 passengers and two crew members when the accident occurred. The crew members called for help to Grand Canyon National Park approximately 5:20 in the afternoon.

A rescue operation was launched, but the passengers and crew spent the night on the craft in the rapid, as darkness prevented attempts to get the stranded river runners to shore.

Early this morning, the National Park Service flew an 18 foot motorized rescue boat to the scene and used it to remove the passengers from the motorboat. This was the first time the NPS had used this rescue craft to remove stranded passengers. The rescue craft is deflated and bundled in a helicopter sling load, ready for rapid dispatch at times of need.

According to NPS personnel, this craft is being tried for just this situation, eliminating the need to extract people off of stranded boats with the use of a helicopter, a rescue technique known as a short haul. This rescue technique of being lifted off a stranded boat by an overhead helicopter is one of the most dangerous rescue techniques conducted in the park, and often disturbs passengers so much they request to be removed from the river trip.

As the park’s regular helicopter was undergoing maintenance, a helicopter with a smaller payload capacity was used to transport personnel and equipment from the South Rim to Crystal Rapid. Three flights were used to bring in personnel, and three flights were used to bring in equipment.

Once the passengers were removed from the Canyoneers boat with the rescue boat, the rescuers were able to set a fixed line to shore. Using a five to one pulley system, the NPS rescue team hauled the motorboat off the rocks.

In the event that the rescue might have been prolonged, Grand Canyon National Park staff began notifying river runners at Lee’s Ferry and Phantom Ranch about the navigational hazard. River runners who approached Crystal Rapid during the rescue were contacted by park staff and only allowed to proceed to run the rapid as rescue operations allowed.

No injuries were reported to passengers, crew, or NPS personnel, and the commercial group continued its trip this afternoon. No passengers asked to leave the Canyoneers river trip, and Park staff were pleased at how smoothly the rescue was conducted.

Flows from Glen Canyon Dam are between 11,000 and 17,000 cubic feet per second. During 2000 to 2004, the NPS conducted 4 short-haul operations for motorized tour boats stranded in the Colorado River’s rapids, once at Unkar Rapid, once at Horn Creek Rapid, and twice at Crystal Rapid.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~
RIVERWIRE is a free service to the community of river lovers from River Runners for Wilderness. To join, send an e-mail address to [email protected] and we'll add it to the RRFW RIVERWIRE e-mail alerts list.

Join RRFW's listserver to stay abreast of and participate in the latest river issues. It's as easy as sending a blank e-mail to [email protected].

Check out RRFW's Rafting Grand Canyon Wiki for free information on Do-It-Yourself Grand Canyon rafting info http://www.rrfw.org/RaftingGrandCanyon/Main_Page.

Visit us at www.rrfw.org , check out new store offerings and donate at the RRFW Store! RRFW is a non-profit project of Living Rivers.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Old 07-24-2008   #3
 
Tom Martin's Avatar
 
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 920
Amaizing story!

Hi Dan, Wow! That's an amaizing story! Did you see your boat go by in the night, or did you just come around a corner way downstream of Crystal and find your boat? All's well that ends well! Yours, Tom
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Old 07-25-2008   #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
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I did the river with a fellow who was famous for wrapping his motorboat in Hance.

Two trips in a row.

Didn't get a chance to ask him about it though. He was a bit sensitive.

Have also had experience with the Helicopter rescue crews. (Not my personal experience mind you)

Very fine fellows. VERY FINE FELLOWS INDEED!!!
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Old 07-25-2008   #5
sj
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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There's a rock in Hance named after that guy. A freind of mine and no he did'nt talk about it. I flipped a snout in Crystal got hung up upside down in the garden. Got my people to shore. Water dropped derigged it in the dark floated it and went on my way the next day. sj
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Old 07-25-2008   #6
 
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Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 920
Hance wraps

Let's see, was it Marty Burgess (not sure of Marty's last name or its spelling)? We got to watch one of Marty's wraps, and assist with the un-wrap, as we just happened on scene on an oar powered trip and some kayakers.

How about Whale (Curt Hansen?). What a terrific guy and what a tragic ending.

Or was it Rewalt Rakestraw? He was in a 22 ft snout doing a survey trip for Glen Canyon Environmental Studies and parked on Whale Rock on 5K cfs on his 100th trip...we have some great short haul photos of that one on the clinic wall at the South Rim...

Best to you all, Tom
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