Date
Victim
Victim Age
River
Section
Location
Gage
Water Level
Difficulty
Cause
Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
Factors Code(s)
Experienced/Inexperienced
Private/Commercial
Boat Type
Group Info
Other Victim Names
Status

Accident Description


An Ocoee river guide  was taking a pleasure trip down the Upper Gauley on 9/20 when his boat  flipped and/or pinned on Fingernail Rock, a very deep undercut just above Sweets Falls. The two other boaters in his party got the boat free. One paddler was out before the rescue, the second was was freed when the boat came loose. The third, Matt Haynes, 21, disappeared. This occurred Monday afternoon at approximately 3:30pm. The search was called off at dark and resumed Tuesday.  His body was found Tuesday at approximately 4 pm.  

 

 

NPS Morning Report

 

On Monday afternoon, rangers received a report that a 21-year-old man in a private raft had disappeared while running Fingernail Rapid on the Gauley River. The rapid is located about 7.5 miles below the Lake Summersville Dam. National Park Service swift water rescue personnel, Kessler's Cross Lanes volunteer firefighters, Nicholas County Sheriff's Department divers, and West Virginia Department of Natural Resources personnel conducted a search of the area. The raft was recovered, but the missing man was not found. T

 

he NPS again asked for a reduction in the river flow. The Army Corps of Engineers at the Summersville Dam commenced a progressive drawdown of the Gauley River, reducing the flow to about 300 cubic feet per second. This made it possible for searchers and divers to begin working in the pools in and around the rapid. Due to darkness and river hazards, search operations had to be suspended for the night. A crew remained on scene overnight to monitor the area. Search crews began working their way back into the area early Tuesday morning and again set up search operations on the rapid.

 

Due to the intricacies of the water system and the distance downstream from the dam, it took most of the day for water flows to recede to levels that allowed searchers to safely work under the deep undercut rock. The body of Matthew Hanes, a 21-year-old Cleveland, Tennessee, man who was an experienced Ocoee River guide, was found by rangers in the rapid that afternoon. An NPS liaison was assigned to the family and friends, later escorting Hanes' mother and father to the coroner's office.

private boaters. super puma. rafter pinned under the rock

UPDATE: Search Underway for Another Missing Whitewater Rafter on the Gauley River

A swift water rescue is taking place on the Gauley River where a whitewater rafter fell into the river earlier.

Posted: 6:35 PM Sep 20, 2010
Reporter: Jeremy Edwards
Email Address: jeremy.edwards@wsaz.com
UPDATE 9/20/10 @ 10 p.m.

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The search for a man missing in a whitewater rafting incident on the Gauley River was suspended Monday night because of darkness. It will resume at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, according to a news release from the U.S. National Park Service.

A crew will remain on scene overnight to monitor the area.

Crews from the National Park Service, Fayette County, Nicholas County, Ansted VFD, Kessler's Cross Lanes VFD, and the DNR will resume operations when river flow levels are expected to be optimal for searchers. That is expected to be around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

A 21-year-old man in a private raft disappeared while running the Fingernail Rapid of the Gauley River.


UPDATE 9/20/10 @ 8:15 p.m.


FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Here are more details about a missing whitewater rafter in the Gauley River, according to a news release issued by the U.S. National Park Service: "At approximately 1:50 p.m. (Monday), National Park Service rangers received a report of a 21-year-old male in a private raft who disappeared while running the Fingernail Rapid on the Gauley River.

"Fingernail Rapid is located about 7.5 miles below the Lake Summerville Dam. National Park Service swiftwater rescue personnel, Kesler Cross Lanes Volunteer firefighters, Nicholas County Sheriff's department divers, and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources responded to the scene and conducted a search of the area.

"The raft has been recovered. However, initial search efforts for the victim were unsuccessful, and the National Park Service made a request for a reduction in the river flow. The Army Corps of Engineers at the Summersville Dam commenced a progressive draw
down of the Gauley River at approximately 3 p.m. to reduce the amount of water cascading through the river corridor.

"Normal river flows at the time of the accident were about 2,800 cubic feet per second. The draw down to about 300 cubic feet per second is allowing searchers and divers to begin working in the pools in and around the Fingernail Rapid. Search operations are ongoing."