NEAR DROWNING ON THE SOUTH PAYETTE
Brock Loveland, the Idaho Whitewater Association Safety Chair, reported a near miss which occurred on the South Fork of the Payette River on June 24, 1996. This popular roadside run an hour north of Boise is easily scouted from the road. The South Payette was running between 5000 and 6000 cfs, a high level. Sue Compton and Jack Nall, both in their early fifties wearing good life jackets and decent cold water protection, flipped their Shredder in Class IV Bronco Billy Rapids. Nall righted the shredder, but Compton could not get back into the raft before the pair entered the next rapid. She lost her grip on the boat in the drop and became separated from Nall.
Compton had been floating helplessly for almost a quarter mile in snow melt when she was rescued by another group. She had no breathing or pulse. The group began CPR at once. An ambulance arrived 20 minutes later and she was taken by life flight to Boise . She recovered completely, but has no recollection of her trip. Loveland observes that if you can't get into raft quickly after capsizing during practice sessions you should swim for shore rather than hanging on.
SOURCE: Brock Loveland, Idaho Whitewater Association Safety Chair
ANALYSIS: 1.( Loveland ) This issue revolves around poor judgment in choosing self-rescue options. He knew she had difficulty getting on the Shredder even in calm water. She should have been told to swim to shore rather than waiting while her partner attempted self-rescue. He was implementing techniques from a river rescue class that he had taken. But this is a great example of bringing someone back with CPR/rescue breathing.
2.(Walbridge) Not having a backup boat for rescue compounded the problem, leaving the couple completely on their own.