Accident Database

Report ID# 3305

  • Health Problem
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

Dave Guss, a long time race organizer, was sitting safety 40 yards below the finish line when he saw Mr. Lockley floating downstream. . He threw his rope, hitting Mr. Lockley across his face. When Mr. Lockley made no attempt to grab the rope Mr. Guss launched his canoe and chased him downstream. At the Route 53 bridge a competitor, Andrew Kirsch, swam towards Mr. Lockley, who at this point was floating face-down. He and Mr. Guss worked together to bring Mr. Lockley ashore. Mr. Lockley had been wearing a wetsuit, helmet, and an "automatic inflatable" PFD. The PFD did not inflate; he was floating very low and face down, this complicating the rescue.

A doctor and several nurses and paramedics were on the scene, and CPR was done with extrodinary professionalism. 911 was called. An EMT brought specialized equipment including oxygen, airways, and a breathing mask. The rescusitation team got a pulse and respiration, and an ambulance transported him to a life flight helicopter. At the hospital, the man was found to have suffered a massive stroke and died soon afterwards.

Following is information on a fatality on the Red Moshannon last Saturday.


Competitor Helps Save Drowning Victim at Red Moshannon Race

GRASSFLAT – After competing in, and placing first in his division, Andrew Kirsch found himself in another race, one that involved saving a man from drowning. The 43rd Red Moshannon Race took place on Saturday and ran on the Moshannon Creek from the Peale Bridge to the state Route 53 bridge. It is about a seven mile race.

Upon finishing his race, Kirsch went up to the bridge where other spectators were watching the racers finish. While most of the spectators were watching from the upstream side of the bridge, he was watching from the downstream side, where he could see them come under the bridge to the finish. Suddenly, the spectators on the upstream side came running to Kirsch’s side of the bridge. He said he expected to see a “swimmer”, someone who bailed out of their kayak or canoe. Instead he saw a man, face down, in the creek. Kirsch said he was about 100 yards from the man in the water, but immediately started running down through the people, boats, and woods to water where he then jumped in. Kirsch said the water was probably about 40 degrees or so but he jumped in and swam out to the man, who was about in the middle of the creek.

Upon reaching the man he turned him so he was facing up and then swam him to the shore. “I knew immediately he was completely unconscious and in a lot of trouble. It was obvious he was going to need resuscitated. He was blue in the face and had purple lips.,” recounted Kirsch. After getting the man to shore and a safe distance from the water, Kirsch said he was pretty exhausted. He was met by another man who performed CPR on the victim. Kirsch said he only assisted by holding the man’s head. They performed CPR for about 15 to 20 minutes before the fire police arrived and took over. The fire police performed CPR for an additional 15 to 20 minutes before the ambulance arrived. Kirsch said he ran up to the road to lead the ambulance down to where they were performing CPR on the man. The EMT’s performed CPR for an additional 20 to 30 minutes before they were able to stabilize the man. Once they stabilized the man they transported him to the hospital.

Kirsch does not know the identity of the man except that he was 63-years old. He also said he does not know exactly what happened to cause the man to be in the water. He heard from other racers that the man swam a few times throughout the race. Kirsch believes the cold water could have been too stressful on the man’s heart. Not wanting to take all the credit for saving the man, Kirsch said, “there was a large group of people that came together to help that man. It wasn’t just me.” Editor’s Note: State police in Clearfield were unable to provide the name or status of the man found drowning in the Red Moshannon during a call on Tuesday. Obituary: Sad ending for the Red Mo Race day accident. George Lockey Jr's obituary picked up from another site.

I'm trying to get more details for you, but here's what I have so far:

River: Red Moshannon, north-central PA 30 minutes NW of State College
Level: medium
Difficulty: II-II+, pool-and-drop, last mile fairly busy
Water temp: estimate mid-30's
Air temp: estimate mid-40's to perhaps 50
Conditions: sunny, breezy
Event: Red Moshannon 7-mile downriver race
Date: March 27, 2010
Time: about 2:30 PM
Paddler: George Lockey
Paddler age: 62
Paddler craft: kayak

    I don't know the make/model; there are links to photos
    of George in his boat on race day here:!/pages/Red-Moshannon-Downriver-Race/344006304032?v=wall

Incident: paddler capsized at/near the finish line, came out of his
boat, and was floating face down.  Another competitor (who I believe
is a guide at the Yough) went swimming almost immediately, brought
him to shore.

Paddler was not breathing, CPR was started on the bank.
EMTs (who were standing on the finish bridge) were there in under
a minute.  911 was called.  CPR continued while waiting for ambulance.
Ambulance transported to local hospital.  At some point later, chopper
transported to UPMC in Pittsburgh. 

Competitors at post-race dinner were informed around 4 PM that he was breathing on his own: unknown whether he was at local hospital or UPMC by then, I suspect the former. 

Paddler died Tuesday morning 3/30/2010 circa 2:30 AM,
cause as yet unknown.

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