Accident Database

Report ID# 1130

  • Flush Drowning
  • Near Drowning
  • Physical Trauma
  • Cold Water
  • High Water

Accident Description


            On June 30, 1996, Neal Larson, a kayaker from , encountered trouble the Selway River . This class IV multi-day trip in northern Idaho was running high. An Internet posting from Doug Purl reported that Larson got caught in a big hole in Class V Ladle Rapids. After numerous roll attempts he bailed out. He then washed several miles through three big rapids before his group caught up to him. Because he was weak and exhausted the group made camp on the spot, at Cedar Flats.

That evening Larson threw up and had a terrible headache. The next day several of the group became concerned about his condition, and they hiked down to where an outfitted trip was eating lunch and asked for help. A guide with Northwest River Company who had EMT training and a doctor who was on the trip hiked up to the camp and examined Larsen. Their concern was that kidney failure might be occurring as a result of toxins that had built up in the blood during his long swim. The group had a satellite phone, and used it to call a life flight helicopter. Larson spent the next three days in a hospital in Missoula, Montana .

SOURCE: Doug purl, posting to

ANALYSIS: (Walbridge) Bad swims can have serious physiological effects, and anyone who does not recover from one quickly is urged to seek medical attention.

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