Accident Database

Report ID# 115263

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Three packrafters capsized in the Delicsky rapids (Деликские каскады) section of Levaya Mama River (Baikal region of Russia).

On 18-19.08.21 it drizzled, the water level rose. 08/19/21 we all successfully passed the Straight Rapid on the Levaya Mama River (category 3). 08.20.21 to 13:20 we approached the rapid of the Delikskiy cascade (category 3). During the passage of the rapid, all our three boats were overturned, two of us managed to reach the right bank. 2 packrafts and 2 paddles were lost, one paddle and 1 packraft remained.

Pyotr Kirienko was unable to swim to shore. His partners found him after thirty minutes and performed CPR, but recovery was not possible. The group was evacuated three days later by helicopter.

The party members discussed and identified these factors as relevant causes:

The rapidly risen water level, that had changed the complexity level of the rapid, overestimation of our own capabilities and underestimation of the severity of the obstacle were the cause of what happened. The immediate cause of Peter’s death was apparently the inability to swim out of the rapid “barrel” (reverse water flow [backwash]), possibly a stone hitting.

The team had helmets, but not drysuits. The water temperature was not cold.

The rapids consist of steep drops and boulder gardens, as described in this link: river description (go to [4])This photo might be from this section of the river.

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