Accident Database

Report ID# 25

  • Flush Drowning
  • Head Injury / Concussion
  • Inexperience

Accident Description

Two women, both of whom weighed over 200 pounds, were participating in a commercial rafting trip on the Black River in Watertown, NY. with a group of co-workers. Both wore life vests and wet suits. The pair, along with the older woman's husband, were thrown from the raft about halfway down Knife Edge Rapid. One woman was pulled in immediately. When it became clear that the second woman was in distress, guide Todd Cunningham beached his raft, swam out to the woman, and pulled her ashore in a cross-chest carry. The tripleader, an EMT, began treating the woman and sent his guides across the river to get help. At this point the second woman collapsed. CPR was performed, , and the victims were rafted across the river to waiting ambulances. They were pronounced dead at the hospital.

1) This swim should not have been fatal. The difficulties these women encountered can be attributed to very poor physical condition and the huge breakfast eaten earlier that day. The victims died from aspirating their own vomit.

2) The outfitter rescue and treatment that followed was extremely competent.

3) The families of the two womewn sued the outfitter. They were not successful.

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