At approxiamtely 3:30 PM on June 10, 2022, a commercial rafting company spotted a male in his mid 60s who was stranded on a rock in the middle of Pinball rapid. Pinball is the rapid downstream of Jaws and acts as the entrance to Bronco--a very long, very rocky, and very continuous rapid that is dangerous to swim. Before the incident, the victim had embarked on a solo trip paddling an inflatable kayak. He stated he was from out of town and had never paddled this section of river. A witness onshore, another employee of the commercial rafting company, saw the victim flip in Jaws and stated the victim failed to obtain his kayak or swim to shore before being swept into the next rapid, Pinball. The victim managed to self-rescue onto a rock in the middle of the rapid approximately 30 feet from shore and remained there stranded. At this point, the witness called the Truckee Fire Department. Soon after, the commercial raft company arrived on scene, spoke to the victim, and initiated a rescue. Four emergency vehicles with approximately a dozen personnel arrived on scene shortly after, but given the location of the victim who was on the opposite side of the river from the access road, the fire department had no ability to provide support to the whitewater raft guides performing the rescue. The whitewater guides sucessfully extracted the victim and evaluated him on shore. He was found to be uninjured except for several cuts and bruises. The whitewater guides then transported the victim to the fire department who conducted their own medical assessment.
-Never go paddling alone, especially on a section of river that is unfamiliar.
-Always know the characteristics of the rapids downstream. Research the river beforehand, watch YouTube videos, and read the run description. If there is any uncertainty, pull over and scout before entering the rapid. See a detailed run description here: California Creeks - Truckee Floriston (cacreeks.com)
-Know your limits. Be aware that accidents do happen on the river and know generally how to handle them. Be confident in your self-rescue skills, particularily swimming in whitewater. To increase your knowledge of river safety, take a swiftwater rescue course!
The Truckee River Gorge is a technical stretch of whitewater with potentially severe consequences due to fast current, difficult rapids, and underwater hazards including sharp rocks and rebar. Please educate yourself about the quality of the rapids before your trip and NEVER paddle alone!