Accident Database

Report ID# 2357

  • Health Problem
  • Heart Attack / Heart Failure
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

May 19th 2007 – Wall Slammer: Charles Bointy (52 Y.O.A. male) was a commercial passenger on a 13’ Avon paddle raft. As the 2 boat trip navigated Wall Slammer Rapid Bointy’s raft collided with the wall on river right and capsized. Bointy did not make purposeful attempts to self rescue. A witness made a statement that Bointy appeared panicked. He was recovered floating face down by the other raft on the trip about 400 yards downstream from where he entered the water. River flow was 2140 cfs.

Stw Pappenfort, AHRA



I've been having a difficult time finding any information in the newspaper at all about this. The only confirmed information I have is a second-on-scene report from a kayaker who arrived an hour into the CPR effort.

I arrived at the scene after the fact, so I don't know exactly what water feature in or around Wallslammer Rapid that caused the guy to enter the water. He was a passanger in a raft. I believe he was a commercial passanger. People only knew his first name, "Charlie". His friend was from just upstream of the Gorge, (Howard, CO.) I think the raft had "River Runners" on the side. Someone said it was "Kelly's boat". People on the scene said they had been giving CPR for about an hour before I got there.

The group said they had already sent for help. I offered to give relief and then took over the chest compressions until the paramedics arrived, who come down the tracks from upstream, having come down the incline rail from the suspension bridge. The paramedics then took over CPR, placed the defibulator pads on his chest, plus a bunch of other electrodes, put a tube down his throat, and worked on him for some time. They were never able to get a "shockable rythm". They stopped life saving measures after it had been probably two hours since he had stopped breathing. They took him out of the canyon via a rail-truck that came up the tracks from Canon City

He was pulled from the river below Wallslammer Rapid. At the end of that long right curve in the river, so about 2 tenths of a mile below the rapid. If you looked up-stream, up the railroad tracks, we were too far down-stream to see the river-side tourist area. I was not present when he fell in the water, but it sounded like he came out of the boat after wallslammer, but I'm not sure; he may have fallen out in Wallslammer proper. I don't know if it was a flip, a dump-truck or just fell out in a hole or the boat bounced off a rock.

The level was 2100-2200(?) so there wern't many rocks, honestly. The weather was clear and warm, no clouds, no wind (down there). He was wearing a wet suit and dry-top, booties. He did appear a bit overweight, but not near as big as some or the people we often see on commercial trips.

Boulder man dies in gorge

by Jason Starr Mail Staff Writer

The Arkansas River whitewater run through the Royal Gorge claimed the life of a Boulder man Saturday when the commercial raft he was in flipped. Charles H. Bointy, 52, drowned after the raft capsized in a rapid known as "wall banger." He was among six passengers on the guided trip, and his death was the first rafting death on the Arkansas River this season.

Fremont County Coroner Dorothy Twellman said Bointy had a heart condition which contributed to the drowning. "You don't have the breath and muscle energy to keep fighting quite as well," she explained. Bointy was on a trip with River Runners of Buena Vista accompanying co-workers from a nursing home in Boulder. Two of the five survivors are nurses and administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Bointy for 45 minutes beside the river before Fremont County Sheriff's Deputies and Cañon City Fire and Rescue personnel arrived. Twellman said Bointy was swept about 400 yards downriver after the boat flipped. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The river was flowing about 2,140 cubic feet per second through the Royal Gorge Saturday. Wall banger rapid is named because rafts often contact the canyon wall there. "Frequently rafts do bang up against the rock wall and this one did," Twellman said. "I don't know why this raft turned over and most of them don't." Colorado River Outfitters Association is investigating the incident to ensure all safety procedures were followed. Spokeswoman Julia Schneider said River Runners "are a very reputable outfitter. We're confident our internal investigation will show they adhered to every procedure."

The association keeps track of fatalities among guests of outfitters in Colorado. One person died rafting the Arkansas last year, Schneider said. "Guests need to keep in mind the river is unpredictable and there are risks in rafting," she said. "But the likelihood of an incident is rare, especially with a licensed outfitter." She continued, "The river community in Colorado definitely takes this seriously and is always saddened when there is a loss like this ... . Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and his family." Mountain Mail, Salida, CO

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