Accident Database

Report ID# 1142

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Near Drowning
  • Other

Accident Description

The efforts of several whitewater guides on October 5, 1997, saved the life of 31-year-old David Thompson who fell out of a 16-foot commercial raft while running Class IV Little Poplar Hill Falls on the Dead River near West Forks, Maine. The boat pitched hard in a big wave, throwing four of the seven guests out. The guide pulled three of the people back in the raft, but couldn’t get to Thompson before the current pushed his boat downstream. Thompson was caught and held by a hole and recirculated. Two passing rafts unsuccessfully attempted to help him by throwing him a rope. A third raft from another company was finally able to pick Thompson up. He was unconscious, so the guide administered rescue breather. He started coughing up water and began to breath. Another raft rushed ahead to call an ambulance, and a raft carried him two miles downstream to West Forks. Maine Wardens credit Tom Welch of the Unicorn Rafting Co. with saving Thompson’s life.     


SOURCE: Bangor Daily News

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