It is with the deepest sorrow that we share the news of the death of Chad Stoner (formerly of Michigan, currently residing in California). Chad was kayaking on an adventure travel trip in Ecuador with Endless River Adventures and died on the Class II-III Anzu River.
The group Chad was with consisted of seven guests and two guides, Ken and Juliet. At the first significant rapid on the river, a Class III where a large boulder divides the river into a right and a left channel, the group pulled over to the shore to scout. After discussing the features of the rapid with Juliet and others, and watching both Ken and Juliet demonstrate how to run the rapid,
Chad chose to attempt to follow Juliet through the rapid.He entered the rapid well, but was spun off of the line taken by the guides and the current took him to the right of the large boulder. Chad flipped once, used an Eskimo roll to right himself, but then flipped again and swam out of his kayak. Ken, who was waiting in his kayak opposite the boulder, paddled across the current and followed Chad around the right side of the boulder. However, Chad quickly became trapped below the surface.
Both Juliet and Ken stopped on the right side of the river, got out of their kayaks and ran upstream with a rope to attempt a rescue. After approximately 15 minutes and much effort, Chad was pulled out of the water. As he was pulled free, it became apparent that a forked branch had caught the grab loop on his sprayskirt, trapping him in the rapid. Ken and Juliet started CPR immediately but Chad could not be revived.
Chad leaves behind a grieving family and many shocked boating friends; friends who have shared time on the river with Chad in many places including Costa Rica, Chile, the Dominican Republic and finally Ecuador. Ken and Juliet and the group that shared Ecuador with Chad will miss his sense of humor and gusto for life, for living, for boating. Our experience with him leaves us better people.