Accident Database

Report ID# 181

  • Other
  • Does not Apply
  • Darkness

Accident Description

On June 10, 1987 a professional river guide and a friend elected to take a midnight cruise down the Lower Animas River near Durango, CO after watching a baseball game. They had been drinking beer and schnapps and brought a supply along. The victim's girlfriend dropped them off at 11:00. They had two rubber duckies and paddles. They had forgotten their life vests but in their inebriated state they did not care.

The river was fast-moving flat water with a many strainers. The water temperature was in the 40's. After floating for two hours the victim stood up to urinate. He lost his balance and fell on his buddy, putting them both in the water. The survivor got to shore and began searching for his friend. Eventually he made it to the road, flagged a car, and telephoned the sherrif.  thge body was recovered the next day.

Source: Casey SwansonThis death was directly linked to alcohol consumption, which reduces coordination, clouds judgement, and interferes with important survival reflexes. NO ALCOHOL SHOULD BE CONSUMED ON  RIVER TRIPS and paddlers should not boat while intoxicated.

The absence of life vests was a major mistake. If the victim had worn one he would probably be alive today despite his impaired state.

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