Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 50 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Your comments, correections, and additions are welcome.
Charlie Walbridge, American Whitewater Database Manager
ccwalbridge (at) cs.com



American Whitewater 2008 Whitewater Fatalities
Preliminary List

07-0IIID Wm Studebaker 61 Kayak E. Fk S. Fork Salmon V Flush Drowning
0PA PA Dale Herrick 57 Kayak Schulkill River FW Grabloop Tucked In
06-MMT Kimo Jackson 27 Raft Blackfoot River No PFD
06-2OR Cynthia Vontungein 52 IK Rogue River Canyon IV Caught in sieve
06-2IIIN Shingo Takura 30 Kayak White River X Dam Hydraulic
06COCO Marcus Martin 43 Comm Raft Brown’s Canyon Arkansas R. IV Flush-Drowning
06-22CO Volker Beer 70 Kayak Arkansas nr Buena Vista III Flush-Drowning
06-21CA Unidentified Woman ? Kayak Kings River I No PFD, Solo Pad
06-20CO Justin Brindley 30 IK Colorado R.; Lower Gore Canyo III Not Known
06-19CO James Kennedy 61 Comm Raft Arkansas R. nr. Salida III Flush-Drowning
06-18YUK CAN Joe & Jerry Leffel 58, 18 Raft Alsek River IV Flush-Drowning
06-17CO Oscar Stevenson 67 Comm Raft Arkansas River Nr Buena Vista III Flush-Drowning
06-1cCO Richard Banks 45 IK Colorado R nr South Canyon III Flush-Drowning
M T Dave Dedmon 53 Raft East Fork Bitterroot R. Strainer
06-14WI Troy Mikula 30 Kayak Popple Morgan Lake Rd to Pine R. Solo Paddling
06-0OOR Fin Terry 11 Canoe Clackamas R. Below Mill Dam II Entangled in rope
06-01BC CAN Ben Earle 25 Kayak Finn Creek III Strainer
06-01OR Robert Blight 42 Raft Rogue River Canyon III No PFD
05-31CO Dr. M. Dennington 57 Raft Gunnison R above Blue Mesa Res No PFD
05-28OR R. Winters 22 Raft Willamette River Nr Coburg No PFD
05-26MT Alvestad J. Rayman 48 & 44 Raft Dearborn River III Below Hwy 287 Flush Drowning
05-2CCO Subhashi Nelakurthi 26 Comm Raft Royal Gorge Arkansas R. IV Flush-Drowning
05-25ME Walter Cruz 53 Comm Raft W. Br. Penobscot IV Health Prob
05-24WA Kenneth Clark 44 Raft Cle Elum River above Cle Elum Res Strainer
05-24WV Nicholas Harcun 32 Comm Raft Cheat River Canyon IV Flush Drown; Health Prob
Cha rWV Charles Brown 70 Comm Raft New River Gorge IV Flush Drown; Health Prob
05-18WA Mike Stano 45 Kayak Green River Gorge V Caught in sieve
0 WV Vicki Miller-Savard 42 Comm Raft Cheat R. Canyon IV Foot Entrapment
05-04AR Will Davenport 7 canoe Buffalo River I Strainer
03-22MO Marion Cox 51 Kayak Center Creek Entrapment
03-1 AZ Randall Johnson 45 Raft Grand Canyon Colo. R. IV Flush-drowning
04-17WA Kiernan Norman 18 canoe Spokane River II PFD Not Worn
04-17VT David Holcombe 24 Kayak West River III Flush Drowning


Kayak: 10; Canoe: 3; Raft: 9; Commercial Raft: 8; IK: 3; Total 34

13 Flush Drowning; 6 PFD not worn or used; 4 Strainer or sieve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,114 Posts
Means it was a protracted swim where the victim died because they could not get out of the water and continued exposure, exhaustion, and dipping below the water surface contributed to death rather than something like a pin or sieve that might hold someone in place underneath the water.

What exactly do they mean be "Flush Drowning."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
81 Posts
Is it alarming that 9 of the 34 deaths were in colorado. Or just the sheer volume of boaters on our rivers. What is the yearly average for colorado?
 

·
Beginner
Joined
·
2,470 Posts
This didn't include the 2 deaths on the Poudre this season. There was a death on the bridge below BTO from a private boater getting pinned by a wrapped boat and there was a tuber with no PFD that died closer to town. I believe both have been discussed on this forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,107 Posts
Sobering news as always, but a good service to the boating community. Thanks for posting.

Its amazing how many folks die from no PFD's. Thats one statistic that should be so easy to whittle down to zero, but yet it happens every year.

Its also interesting to see how many flush drownings were from commercial passengers or inexperienced boaters (IK on the colorado river). My gut feel is that a seasoned boater with good dry gear and good self rescue practice could get out of the river in many of these situations.

I think the large number of colorado incidents is due to high numbers of commercial passengers and a high water year.

Hopefully the continued focus AW has on safety awarness will help reduce future accidents.
 

·
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
Joined
·
1,134 Posts
My fiance took a commercial trip on the Ark over the fourth.
I wasn't along, as I was on the Taylor, so I told her "wear your PFD and helmet tight"

I was amazed when she told me that wearing a helmet wasn't mandatory (she wore hers, as well as all the gear they offered, at my insistence).

Commercial raft companies don't require a helmet?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
On past commercial trips, I've always been required to wear a helmet in Royal Gorge and the Numbers, but not on Browns Canyon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
539 Posts
has there been a fatality on a commercial brown's canyon trip from a head injury? or any section of the ark? or any river? i've never heard of a commercial raft customer dying from a head injury.

dan
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
404 Posts
flush

1. I don't know if it applies to any of these 13, I think sometimes Head Injuries are mistakenly called Flush Drownings because no one really witnesses them hitting their head, and all they see is them swimming for a while.

2. I did'nt think Ben Earle was on a Class III river, it was a Class V creek. I think the rapid he actually got pinned on might have been Class III though. He was a really good boater that just happened to get hooked on wood and was unable to get off.

3. Is there an actual database with magazine articles and possible pictures of the site for these accidents? Keeping a really good digital catalog of all these would be very helpful to the community and to future generations of people who might be trying to learn from history and make the sport safer.

3a. Where is more info available on these? Do you have to google each one yourself or is anyone collecting info and storing it in a central place?
 

·
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
Joined
·
1,134 Posts
3. Is there an actual database with magazine articles and possible pictures of the site for these accidents? Keeping a really good digital catalog of all these would be very helpful to the community and to future generations of people who might be trying to learn from history and make the sport safer.

3a. Where is more info available on these? Do you have to google each one yourself or is anyone collecting info and storing it in a central place?
The American Whitewater website has a database; that's what Chuck Walbridge keeps. If you go to the site (which is apparently down at the moment, or my browser is acting up), you can see the accident reports (up to several years worth). Some have links, some do not.

Unfortunately, most of the links are sketchy on details.

Anyone can report an accident (injury, near-miss, or fatality), and the Buzz community could help spread that word. THe more details, the more knowledge can be learned.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
has there been a fatality on a commercial brown's canyon trip from a head injury? or any section of the ark? or any river? i've never heard of a commercial raft customer dying from a head injury.

dan
The company I worked for in PA did not supply helmets to their customers. Although in the 30yr history of the company the only death was a heart attack, I'd be willing to bet most of our injuries were due to blows to the head. Whether the blow was from falling out of the raft, slipping getting in or out, slipping walking to put in/from take out, or taking a T-grip to the head.

A fellow guide had to help helicopter out a customer who took a shot to the head.

So even though there aren't many documented deaths from commercial rafters hitting their head, it seems like all companies would want to keep helmets on them. Even some cheap-o ones, anything to just keep the morons from falling over and bleeding all over the place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
648 Posts
Let us not forget stupidity

My kid and I were paddling down at Confluence about 2 weeks ago, in the course of taking a break, some father put his 9 or 10 year old on a tiny float tube (plastic thingy for a baby) without a helmet or PFD. The kid flipped and almost became a flush drowning as he got recirc'd 4 or 5 times in the 4th drop down. I dove in after him and had to fight to get to the side where my kid helped get him out of the water. The victim was hysterical and had water coming out. We got most of it out of him, but he got a lung full for sure. I think the kid's dad took him to the hospital. But the guy looked at me like I was from another planet for yelling at him about helmets and PFDs. The water wasn't all that high, maybe 600 cfs, but it sure isn't a place to swim at that level as the eddies are pretty strong for a kid or adult.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
yeah you're right, it was browns where I saw the no-helmets

I think anyone under 18 should be required to wear a helmet but once you are over 18 you are an adult. If you choose not to wear a helmet that is your choice as long as the people on commercial raft trips are armed with the knowledge of potential danger. If an adult who has all the knowledge of potential risk chooses not to wear a helmet and harm comes from that then that should be chalked up to an adult making a bad decision. It sure is easy to blame commercial companies for their clients not wearing helmets but the adults need to take some responsibility too. I wear mine regardless but it is a choice I make.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
771 Posts
re: rafts and helmets, sure, some of the culpability belongs on the shoulders of the people in the raft, but to be fair, they're often entering a pretty foreign environment. Think of all of the raft customers who think that they won't get wet or that it's completely appropriate to wear blue jeans. Lots of them just don't really understand what they're in for.
 

·
Beginner
Joined
·
2,470 Posts
If driving is statistically more dangerous than rafting, why don't we wear helmets to drive?

Sure helmets are a good idea, but in class 1-3 water in many places I'd hardly call them necessary. I sometimes stop wearing mine on class 3 raft trips when the water drops. I don't think that makes me stupid; I'm an experienced and educated guide.

There are also legal and safety reasons that some companies don't require them. A helmet can be a hazard if the chin strap gets loose (which it does on so many of the old helmets commercial outfitters use) and end up being a strap around the neck. They can also add to the already disorienting array of stuff that customers are wearing. In a swim, I'd like to know that the customer has peripheral vision and can respond to things like ropes flying at their head.

Many outfitters tell people that helmets are available if they choose to wear them. 2 of the companies I worked for told me not to specifically recommend helmets but to let the guests know that I prefer to wear one and that they are available.

It still baffles me how many Texans will bring little kids and not make their kids wear a helmet. That said I still think it should be optional at the lower end of the spectrum...
 
1 - 20 of 50 Posts
Top