On August 29,
2010 Susan Marie Kaiser
paddled the “Lowbin” section of
the North Fork of the Feather in an inflatable kayak. According to postings in Boof.com, Ms.
Kaiser, a former river guide, flipped her IK on a large breaking
wave near the bottom in a long Class IV rapid below the first (Bucks Creek) power
house. The current pushed her to the left and she pinned in a slot
between a large boulder and a smaller submerged boulder to its left. One of the paddlers in her
group of four said that the second she was pinned, he knew it was bad. He managed to swim into
the small pocket eddy behind the boulder and tried to pull her out, but she was wedged in too
tightly. This photo by Jeff Sailus
shows a kayak pinned in the same spot.
witnessed the accident pulled over to help. A paddler in a rescue vest tried to swim out to the
boulder where Ms. Kaiser was pinned but the current would not allow him to reach the
boulder. Another paddled into the eddy and saw
Ms. Kaiser’s head about a foot and a half underwater. The current was so strong that he
couldn’t even touch her. After several false starts, paddlers set up a v-lower that got rescuer in place to attach a sling directly to Ms. Kaiser.
The first time they tied to pull her out something broke; the second time they were able to pull
her and a couple of 1 ½” branches free. Even though Ms. Kaiser had been under for
almost 45 minutes the group performed CPR. An EMT was ferried across the river on the back of a
kayak and after some further effort CPR was discontinued. Butte and Plumas County swiftwater
rescue teams launched a raft and brought Ms. Kaiser’s body over to the highway.