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River
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Difficulty
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Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
Factors Code(s)
Private/Commercial
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Accident Description


From Beth Smith on 2009-06-25:

According to news reports, Jimmy Debortoli's sit-on-top kayak overturned. He stood up in the water when his foot became trapped in the rocks. First responders tried to keep his head above water, but the current kept pulling him under. Rescuers were able to free him but it was too late. This man was 64 yrs. old but very athletic and in great physical shape. He ran miles everyday. His daughter, in her 30's (I think), was with him. It was a father's day outing. He was a very popular pharmacist in Montgomery, AL for Rite Aid. He was a great man!

Montgomery man drowns in Coosa on Father’s Day

By Peggy Blackburn Email this story

The deceptively lazy Coosa River between Jordan Dam and Fort Toulouse has claimed its share of victims over the years. That stretch of the waterway is characterized by rocky shoals, and Sunday evening a Montgomery man lost his life during a family Father’s Day outing. Jimmy Debortoli, 64, drowned in the river near Corn Creek Park around 6 p.m. Witnesses reported the man fell from his rental kayak; then when he stood in the water, his foot became trapped in the rocks. Debortoli was wearing a life jacket, but the combination of current, rocks and the trapped foot negated its effectiveness.

Companions attempted to keep Debortoli’s head above water until emergency rescue personnel arrived. “We responded to the call,” said Wetumpka Fire Chief Greg Willis. “We’ve had a lot of training in swift water rescue, but by the time we arrived it was too late. “We were able to free him from the rocks, but he was pronounced dead a little later,” he said. Willis said situations in which feet become entrapped are difficult for victims to escape. “If you put your foot down in those kind of rocky conditions, it can easily get trapped between two rocks,” he said. “Then the current pushes and pulls the foot into a position where it’s almost impossible to get it free without help. The current there was strong and kept pulling him under.” Debortoli’s family group rented kayaks from a local business. The owners were devastated and said this is the first such incident in 14 years of operation.

http://www.thewetumpkaherald.com/articles/2009/06/24/news/news02.txt

Wetumpka (AL) Herald

Montgomery man drowns in Coosa on Father’s Day

By Peggy Blackburn

The deceptively lazy Coosa River between Jordan Dam and Fort Toulouse has claimed its share of victims over the years. That stretch of the waterway is characterized by rocky shoals, and Sunday evening a Montgomery man lost his life during a family Father’s Day outing.

Jimmy Debortoli, 64, drowned in the river near Corn Creek Park around 6 p.m. Witnesses reported the man fell from his rental kayak; then when he stood in the water, his foot became trapped in the rocks.

Debortoli was wearing a life jacket, but the combination of current, rocks and the trapped foot negated its effectiveness. Companions attempted to keep Debortoli’s head above water until emergency rescue personnel arrived.

“We responded to the call,” said Wetumpka Fire Chief Greg Willis. “We’ve had a lot of training in swift water rescue, but by the time we arrived it was too late.

“We were able to free him from the rocks, but he was pronounced dead a little later,” he said.

Willis said situations in which feet become entrapped are difficult for victims to escape.

“If you put your foot down in those kind of rocky conditions, it can easily get trapped between two rocks,”?he said. “Then the current pushes and pulls the foot into a position where it’s almost impossible to get it free without help. The current there was strong and kept pulling him under.”

Debortoli’s family group rented kayaks from a local business. The owners were devastated and said this is the first such incident in 14 years of operation.