Whitewater Accidents Reported to AW January - July 15, 2011

Editor’s Note: This is a sobering report from Charlie Walbridge, coauthor of The Whitewater Rescue Manual and American Whitewater’s Accident Database Manager. Not all fatalities get reported to American Whitewater. You can help by using their Accident Reporting Form to pass along any information you have.

Please do your part to spread the safe boating message.

................................................................................................................................................

Below is a table summarizing the fatal whitewater accidents reported so far this year. The high water has taken a serious toll: 53 people in 47 incidents. This exceeds the previous total for the entire year! The numbers by boat: kayaks 13, canoes 9, inflatables - 16 private and 8 commercial, 5 “other craft” (this category includes everything from drift boats to inner tubes and air mattresses).

Accident causes include: 17 flush drownings, 16 PFDs not worn or fell off, 7 strainer pins and 7 low-head dams. Over 90% of accidents are tied to high flows. Although the kayak numbers are in line with previous years, canoe and rafting numbers are up sharply. These boats are often paddled by inexperienced people who are least able to manage high water.

The geographical distribution of accidents in the United States was 27  in the western region and 20 in the eastern and midwest regions. Idaho leads the state totals with 5, followed by California with 4 and Colorado with 3. Many other states are tied with 2. By age, 10 victims were under 21 years of age and 11 over 60.

There were five serious back injuries from waterfall runs this year. This is way beyond the usual number. It seems that almost everyone who runs big waterfalls regularly will be hurt eventually. Several evacuations were complicated and costly and park managers are not happy.

My thanks to those who have sent in reports and leads. Please send corrections and reports to: Charlie Walbridge, ccwalbridge@cs.com.

 

 

Whitewater Accidents Reported to American Whitewater Jan – July 15, 2011

 

No.

Date

State

Name

Age

Boat

River

Section/Location

Class

Cause

 

 

 

Don’t add your name to this list!

 

 

 

 

 

 

50

07-16

WV

Judy Brown

?

Comm

Raft

New River

Lower; Upper Railroad Rapid

III

Foot Entrapment

49

07-12

CA

Daniele Tira

30

Kayak

Dinkey Creek

 

V

Swam into sieve

48

07-11

TN

Dick Chijiok 

34

Tube

Little River

The 'Y'

I

No PFD

47

07-09

PA

Michael Smith 

47

Canoe?

Susquehanna R.

 

?

Strainer 

46

07-07

WY

Jim Sawyer 

77

Comm

Raft

Snake River

Alpine Canyon

IV

Flush Drowning

45

07-05

MT

Maccine Viola Smith 

70

Raft

Blackfoot River

Scotty Brown Br. to Johnsrud Pk

IV

Flush Drowning

44

07-04

WA

Lyvben Gankova 

47

IK

Cle Elum River

 

?

No PFD 

43

07-03

WA

Sharon Hughes 

69 

Comm

Raft

Wenatchee River

Leavenworth to Monitor

III

Strainer 

42

07-03

CO

Kevin Bair 

26

Kayak

South Mineral Cr.

Above S. Mineral CG

V

Entrapment

41

07-02

WY

Unidentified Boy 

4 

Canoe

Green River

Green River Lakes to Tepee Creek

?

Overloading, No PFD’s, Alcohol 

40

07-01

AL

Daniel S. Smith 

22

Kayak

Cypress Creek

Dam at Florence Pumping Station

X

Low Head Dam 

39

06-30

UT

Jaymond Brasher 

47

Raft

Colorado River

Westwater Canyon, Skull Rapid

IV

PFD Came Off

38

06-29

ID

Keegan Ginther

29

Raft

Lochsa River

Wild. Gateway Br. to Split Cr. Pack Bridge

IV

Flush Drowning 

37

06-29

CA

Tyler Minton,

Lee Mattice

17,

43

Kayak

Yuba River

Englebright Dam to Parks Bar (Hwy 20)

X

Low Head Dam 

36

06-29

ID

Brad Davis

47

Raft

Middle Fork Salmon River

Boundary Creek to Cache Bar

IV

Flush Drowning

35

06-27

ID

Stephen Forster

19 

Kayak

Payette, N. Fork

Smiths Ferry to Banks

V

Flush Drowning

34

06-26

ID

Cami Oburn

34

Raft

Middle Fk Boise

above confluence with Boise River

III

Strainer 

33

06-25

CO

John Novak

31

Kayak

Eagle

Riverbend bus stop to Edwards

IV

Flush Drowning

32

06-23

CO

Frank Diskin

69 

Comm

Raft

Cache La Poudre

Mishiwaka

IV

Flush Drowning

31

06-19

TN

Andrew Silvershein

16 

Comm

Raft

Ocoee River

Upper

IV

Foot Entrapment

30

06-17

CO

Susan Pyeatt-Terpening

65 

Raft

Colorado River

Near Radium

III

Flush-Drowning

29

06-16

MT

Christopher Johnson

33

Comm

Raft

Yellowstone River

Yankee Jim Canyon

III

Flush Drowning

28

06-15

PA

Michael Romo

41

Kayak

Susquehanna River

Dock Street Dam, Harrisburg, PA

X

Low Head Dam 

27

06-13

CA

Quang Nguyen,

Scott Neacato

25,

22

Raft

Kern River

Mouth of canyon to Lake Ming

V

Flush Drowning

26

06-09

AZ

James J. Waring Jr

39

Raft

Colorado River

Grand Canyon;

Hance Rapid

IV

Flush Drowning

25

06-08

CO

Sue Ann Apolinar

38

Comm

Raft

Arkansas River

Fisherman's Bridge to Stone Bridge

III

Strainer 

24

06-08

MI

Sean Arnett

28

Canoe

Grand River

 

?

Strainer 

23

06-05

TN

Jay McElroy

36

Comm

Raft

Ocoee River

Upper

IV

Health Problem

22

06-03

GA

Anna VanHorn

9

RentedTube

Chattahoochee

Metro Hooch

II

No PFD 

21

06-01

IN

Unidentified Boy

1

Canoe

Whitewater River

Metamora, IN to Elizabethtown, OH

I

PFD Came Off 

20

05-31

UT

Shirley Palmer

73 

IK

Green River

Ouray to Green River Town

II

Flush Drowning 

19

05-31

UT

Nathan Daniel Ellison

13 

Air

Matress

Provo River

Deer Creek Res. to Utah Lake

I

No PFD 

18

05-28

ID

Randy A. Eroen

35

Comm

Raft

Lochsa River

Wild. Gateway Br. to Split Ck Pack Bridge

IV

Flush Drowning 

17

05-28

NY

Angelo Zotto

71 

Rented

Raft

Delaware

Hancock to Port Jervis

II

No PFD 

16

05-23

OR

Robert Desmarais

65 

Comm

Raft

Owyhee

Three Forks to Rome; Upset Rapid

IV

Caught in hole

15

05-21

MI

John Przydatek, Doug Killingbeck

16, 

48

Canoe

Huron River

Near Milford, MI

X

Low Head Dam 

14

05-21

PA

Jason Whipkey

31

Kayak

Youghiogheny

6. Lower

II

No PFD 

13

05-16

MT

Mary Patricia Plochowietz

68 

Drift Boat

Smith River

Camp Baker to Eden Bridge

 

Flush drowning 

12

05-06

ND

Cory Berger,

James Hellman

23,

24

Canoe

Apple Creek

Apple Creek country Club, Bismark, ND

 

No PFD, Dam Intake, Hi Water

11

04-30

NY

Ronald Roth

67 

Canoe

Black River

 

?

No PFD 

10

04-21

WV

Donald Smith

45

Kayak

N Fork Blackwater

to Blackwater River

V

Strainer 

9

04-19

IN

David Pritchett

48

Kayak

Big Walnut Creek

Putnam County, NY

?

Flooded River, Solo paddler

8

 

04-17

NY

Nicholas Kozemko

24

Kayak

Catharine Creek

Near Veteran, NY

X

Low Head Dam 

7

 

04-13

KY

Tim Godfrey

29

Canoe

Big South Fork Cumberland

Station Camp to Blue Heron, KY

III

Flush Drowning 

6

04-03

WV

Paul Malone,

Sam Acord,

Dean Halsey

23,

49

 

John

Boat

New River

Bluestone Dam to Sandstone

II

No PFD’s 

5

03-26

OR

Warren Moran

59

Drift

Boat

McKenzie River

McNutt Island

?

Strainer 

4

02-19

CA

Matthew Miller & Gavin Powell,

16,

17 

Raft

Walnut Creek

Near Concord, CA

?

No PFD’s 

3

01-11

AZ

Scott Foster

42

Kayak

Colorado River

Grand Canyon; Pres Harding Rapid

III

Flush Drowning 

2

01-01

TN

Porpon (Paul) Pichanusakorn

27

Kayak

Tellico Creek

Upper; Ledge above Baby Falls

IV

Caught in hole

1

06-21

Alberta

Canada

Simon Davidson

20

Kayak

Red Creek

 

VI

Waterfall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Injuries from Running Waterfalls

 

 

07-12

CA

Nathan Warren

27

Kayak

American River

 

 

Spinal Injury

 

06-26

OR

Robert McKenzie

 

 

Bridal Veil Creek

Bridal Veil Falls

 

Spinal Injury

 

03-21

OR

Tyler Brandt

 

Kayak

Aquiba Falls

 

 

Spinal injury

 

03-20

CA

Jason Craig

 

Kayak

Dry Creek

Near Marysville, CA

 

Spinal Injury

 

03-11

OR

Jesse Coombs

 

Kayak

Aquiba Falls

 

 

Spinal Injury