KAYAKER DISAPPEARS ON THE METOLIUS RIVER
DESCRIPTION: The Metolius River in western Oregon is a bouncy class III run with icy water lots of downed trees. Bruce McKean, 42, was paddling an inflatable kayak with some friends on July 23, 1993 when he fell behind the group. When he failed to appear the group went upstream to search, then notified authorities. His body was found a week later pinned against a downed tree. Local boaters speculate that he may have climbed out of his boat onto the tree, then capsized while attempting to re-enter it.
SOURCE: NORS Currents
1) The area upstream of a strainer is very dangerous, and launching a kayak here would be a precarious undertaking. It is much safer to lift over the logjam, and launch on the downstream side.
2) Although it is not clear what the circumstances were that caused the group to become separated. this accident underscores the need to keep a group together for mutual support. It is possible that the victim, knowing he was falling behind, chose to launch quickly rather than carry his boat to a safer spot. When the person behind you is not in sight, stop and wait. This action, if repeated by other in the group, serves to keep the party compact. A rescue might not have been possible, but at least we'd have a better idea of what happened.