Accident Database

Report ID# 1086

  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Other
  • High Water

Accident Description

The newspaper clipping below tells the story: The river was swollen out of its banks when the troop "set sail" -- poor decisions included the troop leader putting the relatively inexperienced scouts on a river that is in flood -- albeit the Caddo is regarded as a Class I+ the river was rushing madly. Moreover the local outfitter failed to provide ample warning to the group that they should not put on the river -- its a bit unclear (3rd hand information) but the outfitter may have provided needed logistics, shuttle, equipment, etc. Another concern is that the troop leaders looked for the victim for over an hour before contacting EMS -- they had assumed the boy was free of the snag and was walking the bank of the river.

High Water Cited in Boy's Death Swollen River likely a factor in Scout's drowning

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A swollen river from heavy rainfall Friday and Saturday likely contributed to the drowning of a Little Rock Boy Scout during a Sunday canoe trip, officials said. The U.S. Geological Survey indicated the Caddo River in Montgomery County was near flood level Sunday afternoon when Hari Natgunasekaram drowned after his canoe tipped over. Hari, who was 11 or 12, was with members of Troop 59 of Little Rock who had gone to the river for a canoe trip, according to the Montgomery County sheriff?s office.

Hari and another boy were a half-mile upstream from Manfred Road near Caddo Gap in southern Montgomery County just before 1 p.m. when the canoe struck a submerged tree and flipped. Both the boys wore life jackets, and Scoutmaster Brad Chilcote of Little Rock, who was with the troop, pulled one of the boys to safety, the sheriff said. Reached at home, Chilcote declined to talk about the accident. After Chilcote and a Scout leader searched for Hari for about an hour with no luck, they called 911, the sheriff said. Rescuers found the canoe upside down, completely submerged and trapped between two trees at 3:30 p.m., the sheriff said. The trees were cut loose and the canoe came free in the rushing water. It was then they found Hari. The boy was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, the sheriff said.

Little Rock Scout leaders did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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