Accident Database

Report ID# 2195

  • Pinned in Boat Against Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

NZ police divers recover body of American kayaker

January 18, 2007 - 3:23 PM

Police divers have pulled the body of an American kayaker from the flooded Waikaia River on New Zealand's South Island, four days after he disappeared, officials said today. Dennis Alan Squires, 48, of Margaretville, New York, disappeared on Saturday while kayaking down the river with a Japanese companion, New Zealand police said in a statement.

The Japanese kayaker, whose identity was not released, summoned police after Squires failed to emerge from a particularly rough patch of rapids. A rescue team was flown into the area by helicopter, but the search was suspended on Sunday when heavy rainfall flooded the river. Yesterday afternoon, police divers pulled Squires's body from his submerged kayak, which had been trapped by a fallen tree. His death will be the subject of a coroner's inquest, police said today.

Squires was an experienced kayaker who wrote two books on paddling in New York and called himself the "whitewater outlaw", according to his website. In a 2002 interview with New York's The Daily Star newspaper, Squires described how he lived a nomadic lifestyle, wandering the globe in search of new kayaking experiences.

Glenn Murdoch, a safety officer for the New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association, said Squires most likely misjudged the river. "Often overseas kayakers come to New Zealand being very experienced kayakers but having kayaked on rivers of quite different types," he told The Press newspaper earlier this week.

APNew Zealand Recreational Canoe Association Accident/Incident Database 20070113 ? ,

13 January 2007 15:30 ? , F

atal accident ? / Entrapment-Tree ?

Victim : USA, 48, Male Location : Southland/Waikaia/Canton Bridge to Piano Flat ?

Class : IV-V Flow : 13.5cu ,

"Medium" Boat Type : Kayak-Creek/Bliss-Stick Mystic

Trip Type : Private:

Two kayaks put on the river. One ran a rapid and waited for the other in an eddy. When the second kayaker failed to appear his companion scrambled over rocks searching, but only found a paddle. After 30 minutes the remaining kayaker paddled out and alerted authorities. Police Search and Rescue and helicopters searched the river but found no sign of the victim. The search was suspended for several days due to rising river flows. When the water level dropped, the victim was discovered in his kayak after winching a tree out of the way.


Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!