Broken Neck on the Lower Moose
This incident occurred on a commercial trip on the Moose run by Eastern River Expeditions of Greenville, Maine. A passenger was thrown violently backwards and out of his raft while running Froth Hole rapid, a huge drop into a nasty hole. He apparently hit his head on a submerged rock, causing a “hangman’s fracture” of the third cervical vertebrae. He was pulled in by a throw line, and was assisting others when he felt a sharp pain in his neck. He was told to lie down on the rocks. The victim was stabilized, evaluated, and tied to a backboard which the company keeps on site for just this reason. He was carried to a waiting ambulance, where he was transported to the hospital and put into halo traction. He has made a full recovery with no residual damage.
ANALYSIS: Excellent preparedness and first aid care on the part of the outfitter made this potentially crippling accident a routine “save”.