Accident Database

Report ID# 32

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

At 1:00 on the afternoon of May 4th Russell Phillips, 23, launched onto the Bottom Moose with a companion. He was paddling a Millenium Falcon, a low volume squirt kayak. At Knife Edge Rapid his companion declined to run, but Phillips decided to go ahead. He was pummelled by a huge hole in the main drop. After a lightning-fast series of windmill enders he was forced to eject. He was shoved underneath an undercut rock that blocked the discharge of the hole. When he dis not appear wash free his partner sent for help.

Phillips' body was located at 6:30 PM by rescuers using pike poles. But the body recoveryn incredible display of overkill, took ten days, one thousand man hours, ten thousand dollars in materials, a bulldozer, a helicopter, and dynamite! A small dam was built to divert water from the hole. The rapid has been altered and is now more dangerous. This absurd display was orchestrated by a power company, which was engaged in a relicensing battle with AW. The accident and the work that followed was on the front page of the paper for almost two weeks.

Paddlers familiar with the river say that attempting to punch the hole at Knife Edge was an appalling lapse of judgement. I'd agree.

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