Accident Database

Report ID# 2209

  • Impact/Trauma
  • Head Injury / Concussion
  • Other

Accident Description

Witness Narrative by Bruce Pumphrey on 2007-03-12:

It was a beautiful early summer day about 75 degrees. There were 3 of us paddling, 2 hard boats and one Aire Tomcat inflatable. The leader (and vicitm and author of this report) had over a hundred runs on the lower Yough in the 80's had stopped paddling until 2003. He had had numerous succesful runs on class 3 and 4 - whitwater since retrurning to paddling and was paddling with his daughter who was paddling below the Loop for the first time and his his girlfriend in duckie who had hand several duckie runs on the Shenandoah and the Bloominton Section of the North Branch of the Potomac. The day had been succesful with a minor swim by the duckie paddler in Cucumber and later the lower part of Swimmers.

While entering Bottle of Wine the leader looked over his right shoulder to make sure his companions were making it through the bony entrace to BoW. Getting hit by a curling wave the leader tried to brace up but flipped in an exposed upright position immediately impacting a rock with his face/skull but not losing conciousness. The victim attempted to roll twice and then wet exited and swam to shore on river right. The paddling partners edied out and scamble upstream to help the dazed vicitm.

There was considerable gash and swelling across the victims forehead, eye brow and nose even though he was wearing a snuggly fitting SR helmet. Bleeding had subsided and the victim thought it best not to try to paddle so he flagged down a safety raft from a commercial trip who carried him and his boat to the river left above double hydraulic. The companion paddlers completed BoW and met and carried boats and gear to the bike path on river left. DNR met the group and assisted them in getting boats and gear back to their car.

The victim drove and was treated with staples at Highlands Hospital and was later found to have an orbital and upper sinus displaced fracture. The victim was fine but was told not to paddle until until the fractures healed due the potential for dirty water to get into the sinus which could result in a skin infection (celulitis) around the eye that could lead to blindness.

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