Accident Database

Report ID# 3341

  • Foot Entrapment
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

May 26th 1010 – Below Puppy’s Tail (aka 360):

Nikki Ines was a guide in training. The solo boat training trip was in the Parkdale Section of the Arkansas River. As part of the training, guides swam the last rapid, Puppy’s Tail. Below the rapid as Nikki was climbing back in the boat on the upstream tube the boat was jostled as it went over a submerged rock in class I water very near the river right shore. At that time Nikki was entrapped by her foot or leg. The raft pulled over immediately and the trainer and another guide trainee went back upstream. Several attempts to free Nikki were made before she came free. CPR was initiated but resuscitation attempts were not successful. Water was flowing 1370 cfs. The boat was a 14’ Avon paddle boat. Nikki was a 22 year old female.


Nikki Innes drowns on Arkansas River

by Dale Rodebaugh Herald Staff Writer Article

Last Updated; Saturday, May 29, 2010  

Three weeks after a Fort Lewis College student training to be a rafting guide drowned in the Piedra River west of Pagosa Springs during a training outing, a similar accident Wednesday claimed the life of a recent FLC graduate. The victim was Nikki Innes, 22, of Canon City. The accident occurred on the Arkansas River near Parkdale. Innes was a psychology major at FLC who received her degree April 30.

Dr. Dorothy Twellman, the Fremont County coroner, gave this account of the drowning: Innes, who had worked in the office of Whitewater Adventure Outfitters for several years, wanted to guide. She was on the Arkansas River on Wednesday with three other trainees and an instructor. As part of the regimen, the guide and trainees got out of the raft to simulate an accident. As the swimmers approached a difficult part of the river, the guide ordered them back into the raft. Innes was partially aboard when she became trapped under water by a snag. The companions freed her after a time and performed CPR until an ambulance arrived. Innes was taken to St. Thomas More Hospital in Canon City where she was pronounced dead Wednesday afternoon.

Update - Clarification

This was a guide training trip for a commerical company. While getting into the raft from a practice swim Nikki Innes's legs went over a small pour-over and became trapped. The offical cause of death was a foot/leg entrapment from what the coroner said was likely a rope or strap around the shin along the river bottom.

Nikki was pulling herself into the raft after swimming a few waves (guide training).  She was half way in when she was pulled back into the water.  The boat had just gone over a small pourover.  (Mind you this is a tiny pourover, and this is the prime swimming area for this section)  She was pulled out of the boat, struggled (just behind the pour over) to swim and stopped moving.  The boat was downstream of her and did not run her over.  After two immediate attempts to her body finally came free.  Both rescuers pulled as hard as they could, and said she wasn't being held by the pour over.  The corner said there were bruise marks around her ankle(s), suggesting a foot entrapment by something that wrapped around the leg.  A few days later the river went from 1600cfs to 5000cfs.  We looked for a rope/strap but never found anything. 

Phil Kirkman


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