This just received from Matthew Waltz: On the way home from the Hiawassee area a small group of us decided to go over to the Cartacay River in GA. While on the water we witnessed a family in double duckies run the rapid Whirlpool.
The Father with his son both wearing pfds in the first ducky flipped. The father surfaced quickly but the the little boy, he was trapped. The Father was able to get his son head above water but something was wrong. Myself and other boaters rushed into assist with the situation. While the current pulled the boat down river the father held his son as high in the water as possible.
I asked the boy to grab the grab handle on the front of my boat but he couldn't. His had limited range of movement of his arm. We soon learned that the young boy was entangled and somehow attached to the boat and a paddle. I made a very quick decision to jump out of my boat and begin an in water rescue. Once I was swimming in the water I was able to secure the young boy and discover he was wrapped around his one arm twice with a paddle leash and that same leash was also wrapped around his leg once. I was able to free him from the entrapments and able to swim him and his dad to shore river right just past the whirlpool eddy.
The little boy was so scared and the father was too. A class 2 rapid and a pretty sunny day almost turned tragic. A little bit of information and I am sure that father would have never attached the paddle leashes.
Thankfully myself and the group that paddled with me choose to go to the Cartacay Monday the 25th. I am pretty sure this story would have ended differently otherwise.