Frank "Andy" Archible, 49, was rafting on the First Crossing to Cypress Bend Park stretch of the Guadalupe River on Friday with his sister, three other women, and a guide. When they approached the Gruene Bridge, their inflatable raft crashed into it, tossing Archible and two of the women into the water. The other two women and the guide grabbed onto the top of the bridge and got out of the raft safely, but Archible and the other women went under the bridge, Archible's family said.
After a few minutes, several bystanders helped the women get out of the water. Archible did not surface, according to police. About 6:30 p.m., New Braunfels police, firefighters and a STAR Flight helicopter searched for Archible downstream but did not find him. New Braunfels police said that, because of recent flooding, the river was high and too dangerous to attempt a dive rescue, and the Army Corps of Engineers was called to slow the flow of the river at Canyon Lake dam.
During the accident, water was flowing at 2,500 cubic feet per second, a speed that is safe for rafting, according to a city ordinance. The ordinance states, "It shall be unlawful for any person, regardless of age, to enter, be on, or in the public waters of the portion of the Guadalupe River that lies within the city limits in an inner tube or other flotation device, other than a six-man raft, when the flow of the river is above 1,000 cfs." But Archible's sister Cindy White, who was not in the raft, said that the water was quick and that the group missed its exit from the river. Instead of exiting farther upstream, the group was carried to the Gruene Bridge.
When the water slowed enough, dive teams retrieved Archible's body from underneath the bridge. He had been wearing a life vest but had become entangled by debris, said river supervisor Zach Armstrong of the New Braunfels Police Department. "It took them about 15 minutes to untangle him because he was tangled in so much debris," Armstrong said. White said Archible was no stranger to the outdoors. "He loved to camp and be outside," White said. "One of his favorite things to do was kayak."