Near Drowning in Kayak Class
On August, 30, 1998, shortly after 4 PM, a student in a commercial kayaking class wrapped around a tree. It happened in the right channel on the rapid below Lotus Ledge on the South Fork of the American near Sacramento, California . The class consisted of four students, two instructors, and an accompanying guest.
The student was following the instructor but ran too far to the right and wrapped on a tree at the edge of the current. He was pinned in his boat under water. The instructor saw the accident happened and immediately eddied out at the bottom of the gravel bar forming the left bank of the channel. He ran up the gravel bar, swam across the channel, scrambled to the tree and freed the wrapped boat with the student in it. While floating down the rapid he attempted to hold the student’s head out of the water. Once he was joined by the second instructor this was successful.
The guest and second student pushed both instructors and victim to the left shore. The student was not breathing. One of the instructors performed two Heimlich maneuvers to expel water from the student. As they reached shore he began coughing and breathing on his own again. Within a few minutes the student regains consciousness and all his faculties. 911 was called, and a few minutes later the ambulance arrived. He was taken to a hospital in Placerville . He was released the next afternoon.
Source: Urs Schuler, California Canoe & Kayak