Accident Database

Report ID# 289

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description


Colorado River near , UT: June 3, 1993              

Gradient 25 fpm; Volume 65,000 cfs(high); Classification V

DESCRIPTION: Cataract Canyon at 67,000 cfs is huge, unforgiving whitewater. Stanley Hollister, 51, was a veteran outdoorsman and long-time Grand Canyon guide, in excellent physical condition. He had swum Cataract Canyon in high water ten years earlier. He was wearing two farmer john wetsuits, a diver's top, swim fins, and a PFD. At lunchtime on June 3 he had lunch with a commercial party. The tripleader, who Hollister had trained on the Grand Canyon, suggested that he board a raft for the biggest drops. Hollister refused the offer. He was found floating face down below Rapid 24 by Park Service personnel on routine patrol.

SOURCE: National Park Service; Maxine Dunkelman; NORS Currents

ANALYSIS: River swimming in huge Class V water is very risky, even for well prepared, skilled individuals. The solo attempt left no margin for error.

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