Rexburg Scout leader drowns in Jackson, Wyo.
Published: Monday, June 29, 2009 10:55 PM MDT JACKSON, Wyo. -- A Boy Scout leader from Rexburg who died Friday on a troop rafting trip was known as an outgoing man who lived to share his love of the outdoors with others. Craig McCuistion, 50, drowned on a popular white water stretch of the Snake River after being thrown from his raft when it hit a rapid known as Three Oar Deal. McCuistion was leading the rafting trip along with several other adults.
"They were doing what this man loved," said Winston Dyer, McCuistion's LDS Church bishop. "He wanted the young men to have the same type of adventures he'd had in his life -- white water rafting being one of them." Dyer said McCuistion had been a lifelong rafter and was currently involved in working with the 14- to 15-year-old Scouts in his LDS ward.
The accident occurred around 3 p.m. on the Snake River about 14 miles south of Hoback Junction. According to Lincoln County, Wyo. officials and Dyer, who was on the trip, McCuistion was wearing a life jacket, but he was caught in a "reversal," a river phenomenon where there is a constant rolling backwash of water.
Dyer was in the raft with McCuistion, six Boy Scouts and two other Scout leaders. He said all four leaders were all thrown from the raft as it went over the rapid, but the boys remained in the raft. "When we were able to pull him from the river, several of the Scouts knew CPR, and they went right to work on him," Dyer said. "It was the third run of the day for some of us," he said. "We hit the thing straight on as we thought we needed to. Suddenly it ejected all four leaders."
Dyer provided a sequence of events after the men were flipped from the raft. Dyer and one of the other leaders, Luke Stoker, managed to get to the side of the river. But McCuistion was still caught in the rapid, and the boys tried to paddle the raft over to him, but could only hold their position against the current. Steven Dick, the other leader, then managed to get back into the raft with the help of the Scouts. "After two to three minutes in the reversal, the river released him," Dyer said. At that point, those in the raft managed to get McCuistion into it, get him to shore and begin revival efforts.
While continuing their efforts, they noticed a group of professional river-runners a short distance downstream, and McCuistion was taken across to gain their assistance. Revival efforts continued with the assistance of the Alpine Volunteer Fire Department, which transported McCuistion to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, where he was pronounced dead that evening. "Everything that could have been done was done," Dyer said. He said all those involved in the rescue attempt did their best, and many spent time in counseling the Boys Scouts afterward.
The Scouting "High Adventure" trip that began Wednesday evening had been planned for some time, and the Scouts set up camp on the river at Table Creek Campground. On Thursday the group went swimming at the Jackson Aquatic Center and attended a Bar J Wranglers western music show that evening. Friday and Saturday had been set aside for rafting the river. "We'd also checked in with the Forest Service the day of the rafting to make sure there wasn't anything out of the ordinary and to be safe," Dyer said. "There were quite a number of groups on the river. We took every precaution to be properly trained, prepared and certified. "
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Boy Scout leader dies in whitewater accident
By Tim Dudley, Jackson Hole Daily, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 29, 2009 A Boy Scout leader who fell into the Snake River during a rafting trip died Friday. Craig McCuistion, of Rexburg, Idaho, drowned after being sucked into a hydraulic in the Snake River Canyon, Lincoln County Coroner Michael Richins said. McCuistion was pronounced dead Friday evening at St. John’s Medical Center, Richins said. Richins said McCuistion was 48 to 51 years old. McCuistion and other adult leaders with a group of Boy Scouts launched a raft from the West Table boat ramp to run the popular whitewater stretch of the Snake River south of Jackson.
McCuistion was thrown from the raft when it hit a rapid known as Three Oar Deal, a spokeswoman for Bridger-Teton National Forest said Friday. McCuistion, who was wearing a personal flotation device, was sucked under. “Just the force of the whirlpool kept him under,” Richins said. “This time of year, especially, with that volume of water, those whirlpools can be pretty vicious.” Another trip leader was thrown from the raft but was able to swim away, Richins said, and all of the Boy Scouts stayed in the raft and were unhurt. Richins said he did not know how may Scouts were on the trip.
Staff from Dave Hansen Whitewater and Mad River Boat Trips, several U.S. Forest Service river rangers and an ambulance crew from Alpine helped pull McCuistion from the water and load him on an ambulance.
Three Oar Deal is widely considered one of the most dangerous features on the river when the water volume is high. The Bureau of Reclamation reported 17,500 to 18,000 cubic feet per second were flowing through the canyon Friday, about 4,000 cfs higher than the average for that date. “For heaven’s sake, be careful on the river,” Richins said.
Boy Scout leader drowns in Wyo. rafting trip
Published: Monday, June 29, 2009
10:55 PM MDT JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) -- A Boy Scout leader has died on a troop rafting trip on a popular whitewater stretch of the Snake River. Craig McCuistion of Rexburg drowned Friday after being thrown from his raft when it hit a rapid known as Three Oar Deal. McCuistion was leading a Boy Scout rafting trip with other adults. Lincoln County Coroner Michael Richins says McCuistion was wearing a life jacket but was sucked under by a whirlpool. Another trip leader was thrown from the raft but was able to swim away, Richins said. All of the Boy Scouts stayed in the raft and were unhurt. Richins said he did not know how may Scouts were on the trip. For more details check tomorrow's Standard Journal.