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Abron Cabron
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holy crap. that is horrifying.
Edit: i watched the helmet cam footage first, I thought for sure they were going to have to do CPR based on the down time towards the end.
 

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Ug. Yep. Tough to watch. The upstream rope seemed like a problem from the start, though I thought the jump out to the live bait swimmer was a good move, given the circumstances.

It's interesting to see this rescue from both the rescuer's perspective as well as the swimmer's. From the swimmer's perspective, it seems like there's something to be said for not doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result. The ropes were taking a long time to setup and it seems like because the swimmer could keep her head above water (for the most part) she wanted to stay above water and not dive for green, downstream water. From an armchair quarterback position, it seems like the move would be to dive deep and hope to get flushed, rather than staying on the surface and getting recirculated over and over.

As a final note, when someone takes a beating like this and makes it into an eddy, their natural reaction is to hang out and catch their breath and count their lucky stars. They're exhausted, and crawling up on a rock seems impossible. I think it's important to pull them out of the water as quickly as possible, since hypothermia and shock are going to be concerns. Get them to dry land and let them rest there.

thanks for sharing these glenn
 

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GoBro
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I wasn't there. These were in my Facecrack feed. Just wanted to start a conversation about what could go better.

My basic thoughts.

Swimmer - As craven mentioned trying out some different things to do besides tread water would probably have made this a non issue. Swimming into the main current. Swimming hard to the corners of the hole. Balling up and going deep. I think all of these had a chance of working.

Helmet cam safety guy - Obviously missed the rope when he first got out. This one sucks and even though I'm usually the slowest in/out of my boat I try to always have my rope. That he got out of the boat for a beatdown but didn't grab the rope right away is weird to me. Anyways... Obviously the angle isn't great pulling the swimmer through the hole to a less than ideal exit on the near side. I think clipping in on a rescue vest and throwing to the downstream rock for an anchor would have been fast and effective for a trashed swimmer who may go unconscious. This guy had the best chance to make a tough grab since he was so close when jumping in.

Downstream safety - These guys didn't seem to coordinate at all with the upstream safety and they missed a number of throws. Just bad rope skills I see from 60%+ of the community. Everyone talks about needing to practice, it rarely happens. It's simple to get the bag out and throw it a dozen times once a month and ensure a good repacking. The final live bait worked but as mentioned above they weren't in an ideal position and should have coordinated better with the upstream crew.

Ultimately it highlights issues with all rescues. Communication, unnecessary complications, using the water to your advantage and never stop trying.
 

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Abron Cabron
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Thanks for sharing Glenn. I hope the young lady in this footage is doing alright, and is still a kayaker.
I have been thinking about this a bit since watching it, and although armchair QB is easy to do when youre not there, I totally respect that the folks in this vid did got it done as best as their circumstances allowed and saved their friend. (certainly no disrespect intended.)
I did think of a couple down and dirty things that might have saved some time from the rescue perspective.
First idea I had immediately (Like Craven mentioned) was that the upstream/crosswise rope was not going to work, so to fix that, if the downstream rescuers could throw the end of the second line to the upstream man, he could clip the two together, (assuming he already had her on the upstream line) and let go of the new midpoint and let them pull her her down stream. To save time, they could do the shore throw first.

The second idea is more risky but feasible as well, that would be for the Upstream man to clip his live bait tether into his own throw bag, then throw his bag downstream to the others,or vice versa. and initiate the live bait swim from where he was upstream, which was a much better angle to contact the swimmer. the live bait from straight downstream, unfortunately did not work . The other thing the downstream live bait could have done was to scramble upstream before jumping in.
I think we have all had scary swims, and this is a nasty hydraulic. it would be a good one to sneak for most of us mere mortals.....
good learnin.
the swimming technique as mentioned would have also helped.
 

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Glad that person has friends and is alive!

Now to armchair so we can all be better:
As I was watching I was hoping the upstream guy would clip in, throw downstream for an anchor, and tackle the swimmer for the quick rescue, then they went back for the rope. :(

The up stream rope became a hazard to the live bait, the swimmer, and the upstream rope. Look how it tor the go pro off, that could have been a neck. As I watched the swimmers helmet view, I saw the rope wrap around the visor and became very concerned.
 

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Looks like the swimmer's dry suit may not have been burped when it was put on. Her buoyancy looked crazy high and the air in the suit may have led to increased recirculation.
 

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addict
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Lots of shiny new gear, Gopros, and minimal skills. Poor communication. Sloppy rope work. Non-aggressive swimming.

I tend to learn lessons the hard way, so I won't be too critical, but that was excruciating to watch.

Fortunately the guy in green had a clue.


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Like others have said, from the arm chair...

Downstream: had a 20ft throw rope, a dislocated shoulder, or can't throw for shit. I consider him just as ill-prepared as the others.

Upstream: always take your rope with you... then jump to the down stream boulder and pull her out rather then in and she wouldn't of churned in there with the rope long enough to have a BDSM ball gag moment.

My overall $0.02... get in the current and hit that hole with some momentum.




What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Hope she gets back on the horse soon...
 

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The location

The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River is on the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau dividing Middle and East Tennessee. Given the recent weather they've had there that water was likely to be extremely cold - early runoff cold and could be a contributing factor to a non-agressive swimmer.

Having paddled that section of river several times I can say that were the swim occurred is toward the beginning of the run and that they are down in a sandstone canyon with very few options to get out, none of which would be easy. My immediate thoughts were about hypothermia and the need to get that person warm - to my knowledge, most boaters in the southeast do not use drysuits (no one I paddled with down there did, even in winter).

All in all the BSF is not overly challenging and is quite pretty. If you're into climbing the quantity of sandstone is lifetime and it is best accessed by boat.

Matt
 

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as somebody who saw a lot of criticism on Facebook today regarding this video, I actually feel that the rescue could have been much worse, and it could have easily resulted in something awful..

I personally like abron's comment best so far.

Look rescues are tough situations and in twenty years of professional experience, I think it's easy to make judgments on what happened, but in the end, they saved a life.. Hindsight is always 20/20.

One time, I was part of a crew that pulled a limp lifeless body out of water just a few feet from where we stood, and at the time we were proud that because of our efforts, a life wasn't lost. But if GoPro existed at that time, and the video was posted, I think it'd be really easy to criticize us...

All I can say is practice throwing your rope, and practice it more often without it being stuffed in the bag. (I understand the upstream guy was pulling her back into the hydraulic, but this rope might have resulted in her getting more breaths than without grasping a rope at all, agree to disagree....)

Ultimately they found a really reasonable way to get her out of the hydraulic. God bless them, or whatever...
 

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Favre, the rescue could have been worse, but don't you also need to admit that it could have been better? Fortunately for all of us, we don't see rescue situations every day. And having something like this on film, especially from two points of view, provides an invaluable opportunity to critique what went wrong and what went right. And hopefully that analytical process can help us all be more effective in our rescues in the future.

And with respect to the upstream rope, if you're suggesting that it may have been a net benefit, I do disagree - I think it did more harm than good.
 

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Wow. Brutal, and great educational video.

From my armchair, I'd say that in a rescue situation where a swimmer is getting recirculated, it's primarily the swimmers responsibility to get out. And, this is usually (arguably almost always) done by swimming down deep, and crawling out beneath the hole. Constantly swimming towards the surface creates a situation where you are constantly body surfing the deepest part of the hole. Not understanding this can kill you.

There have been old debates about throwbagging too early, and a number of guys that I boat with (myself included), won't throw a rope to a recirculating swimmer UNTIL said swimmer is on a third or fourth recirculation (and signaling for a rope, or really getting destroyed). Waiting for a swimmer to recirculate (and self-rescue out of the hole) prior to tossing a rope into the hole with them is wise during the first minute.

In my personal experience, the first recirculation happens from the swim, when the swimmer has little room to create momentum to swim upstream (and deep) into the falls. By the second recirculation they have been pushed further back on the boil line, and can aggressively swim into the fold, and more energy into the base of the falls leads to more energy down, and thus, more green-water pushing you out.

Basically, when swimming in a big hole, ball up to get shoved deep or swim deep!
 

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The Big South Fork of the Cumberland River is on the escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau dividing Middle and East Tennessee. Given the recent weather they've had there that water was likely to be extremely cold - early runoff cold and could be a contributing factor to a non-agressive swimmer.

Having paddled that section of river several times I can say that were the swim occurred is toward the beginning of the run and that they are down in a sandstone canyon with very few options to get out, none of which would be easy. My immediate thoughts were about hypothermia and the need to get that person warm - to my knowledge, most boaters in the southeast do not use drysuits (no one I paddled with down there did, even in winter).

All in all the BSF is not overly challenging and is quite pretty. If you're into climbing the quantity of sandstone is lifetime and it is best accessed by boat.

Matt
Having also run the BSF several time, agree with these comments. It's been a long time and memory is fuzzy but I'm thinking this was Washing Machine in the Big Three? Or is is El?
 

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Favre, the rescue could have been worse, but don't you also need to admit that it could have been better? Fortunately for all of us, we don't see rescue situations every day. And having something like this on film, especially from two points of view, provides an invaluable opportunity to critique what went wrong and what went right. And hopefully that analytical process can help us all be more effective in our rescues in the future.

And with respect to the upstream rope, if you're suggesting that it may have been a net benefit, I do disagree - I think it did more harm than good.
I agree on the value to the video...

I had a couple whiskeys last night... I'm not sure I'd say it was a net benefit anymore, but ultimately it was because of this rope that she was pulled from the hole. At one point, it appears she flushes out but being latched on to the rope actually pulled her back in for some more action.

Also I wouldn't have ever thrown this rope from that upstream position without being sure I personally would have a rope from the downstream rescuers.

My first instinct was wondering if the upstream rescuer (with GoPro) could have made a jump to access the rock just immediately downstream and to his left (although it looks like it may have been difficult.)

In a public forum, I don't want to point any fingers, but I was hoping that the downstream rescuers would have been able to nail a good throw.. That was clearly the best option available in my opinion.
 

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Swim

I think it really started before the swim. Her boat angle, lack of a powerful boof stoke, and ever her selection of where to run the drop all set her up to fail. Then she went into rafter mode and waited to get rescued.

When you end up in the drink your only thought should be to keep trying things until you can't try any more.

My real question is: What happened to the other three paddlers who were with helmet cam guy? They could have had two live bates going in the time the down stream guy reloaded.

Plus in my opinion if you do have someone in the water who is frozen in action and only waiting for a rope... you have to rescue them because they are not going to do it themselves. Live bait is the only real option.
 

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I think it really started before the swim. Her boat angle, lack of a powerful boof stoke, and ever her selection of where to run the drop all set her up to fail. Then she went into rafter mode and waited to get rescued.

When you end up in the drink your only thought should be to keep trying things until you can't try any more.

My real question is: What happened to the other three paddlers who were with helmet cam guy? They could have had two live bates going in the time the down stream guy reloaded.
Yeah, those guys could have caught a rope from below, clipped it to the upstream rope and then the downstream rope could vector pull her out/down. But live bait would habe been best choice, just trying to think through the fastest resolution with that nasty upstream rope. I bet those folks go take some rescue classes now.

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I will ignore the "went into rafter mode" jab and assume it was attempt at poorly timed humor....

Positives: They managed a rescue in about 3 minutes 50 seconds (timed from swimmers go-pro footage, out of kayak to successfully using throw rope). While that may not be well oiled visually that is a rather quick effort in my book. I have never needed to help someone in such technical, cold water so I don't know the standards there but sub 5 minutes is pretty phenomenal considering it includes the time it took to safely exit a kayak (upstream response) and create a live bait attempt.

I just used my WFR skills yesterday for the first time in several years and I can say it takes a minute to get into an effective mind sight and problem solve. I am impressed with their response time.

Constructive: The biggest has been said, that is a lot of rope in the water, especially by a hydraulic that is recirculating someone. Loose rope in water just scares the hell out of me, though it is obviously needed at times.

The swimmer was definitely immobilized in a less than ideal way. It seems most of us fall into 2 categories as whitewater enthusiasts: those who freeze up in events like this and those whose body and training takes over. I would hope to discover that reality before entering a hydraulic in the middle of winter, which doesn't seem to be the case with this swimmer. Knowing how we physically and emotionally respond to immersion is a key aspect of rescue training. Undoubtedly the cold played a major role in physical response but aggressively doing something is key. But theory is different than application and its hard to know all the details from this video.

Lack of gloves. That stood out to me immediately and I am shocked she had the dexterity to retrieve the rope at all. It doesn't take long in that cold of water for muscles and joints to freeze up, so to speak.

Overall: I am rather impressed with the timeframe for a swimmer who was obviously shaken up (that audio is hard to listen to after they start dragging her in). It makes me realize how little we practice as groups and how scary the implications of that can be. Always more to learn.

Glad they got her out breathing and mobile, could have been much worse considering the time of year.

Phillip
 

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I am taking my first swift water class in a few months and after watching these videos I wish I could take it sooner and get training now. I really appreciate all the comments.
 
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