Accident Database

Report ID# 1090

  • Swim into Strainer
  • Near Drowning
  • Other

Accident Description

Soco’s Suck (named after a paddler who got trashed there) and Michaud’s Hole make up the third and last rapid on this short, intense section of the Natchaug River . The Drop itself is only about three feet hight but it is nearly vertical. When the water level is up, it should be run perpendicular to the ledge forming the drop to avoid the “suck.” We have videos of several unnamed boaters “surfing for life” in the hydraulic. The river tends to push paddlers toward river left, under a low undercut that reaches four to six feet under a rock ledge. At times branches (strainers) have been wedged here. The approach to Soco’s Suck is fairly straightforward, about one hundreds yards long with numerous eddies mostly on river right with several waves. One hole resides directly above the drop. To miss this hole, which looks particularly ugly at high water, paddler’s usually eddy out on river right, move to left below the hold, and finally drop over the “Suck” roughly in river center.

The individual concerned made the eddy on river right opposite the hole, but proceeded too high and too far left and ended up pushed under the rock overhang. He was rolled over and into the crevice. Although several of us were there within fifty feet of the scene, no one was on shore with a rope. I’m not sure it would have helped, as the undercut is difficult to reach from the left shore where we would have been. Fortunately, the paddler flushed out immediately, losing his paddle and boat in the interim.

SOURCE: Ted Groom in Crosscurrents

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