Accident Database

Report ID# 2462

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Near Drowning
  • Inadequate Equipment

Accident Description

Witness Narrative by Michael Maloney

Helen was in a party of 2 paddling the river, she reached the top of flipper hole expectantly, and hesitated in what to do. She was sideways when she dropped over the ledge into flipper hole, and immediately left her kayak upon going into the hole.

Helen's river experience seemed poor in the situation at hand. she wore a pfd but no helmet. Her husband, the second member, also wore a pfd but no helmet. I was an eighth of a mile downstream when i noticed Helen was being churned in the hole. I immediately paddled to the shore, grabbed my 70' throw rope and ran up the shoreline to her. I used the throw rope 6 times without Helen successfully grabbing the rope. She was losing strength, warmth, and oxygen fast, so I made the ultimate decision to go in after her myself. After about 4 minutes of being churned, she lost consciousness, and was immediately released from the hole just as I was swimming midway to the hole. I skirted the edge of the hole, grabbed the unconscious victim, turned her face up, used the throw rope being held by a member of my party to pull me into the eddy, gave her 3 rescue breaths before help came to bring her to the shoreline. At that point her husband did 3-5 more rescue breaths, and Helen slowly came around to consciousness. We kept her on her side, covered in any clothing we had, and talking for about 40 minutes before the E.M.T. arrived via raft and squad along the path. Helen suffered no serious injuries, and is fully recovered from the accident.

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