Accident Database

Report ID# 33971

  • Pinned in Boat against Rock or Sieve
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Florida man dies in kayaking accident in Provo River

By Kate Valentine, KSL TV and Ashley Imlay, KSL  |  Posted Jul 3rd, 2018 @ 10:16pm

HEBER CITY — A man from Florida died in a kayaking accident in the Provo River when his kayak flipped and he was pulled underwater, according to officials.

Around 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the man, who was in a group of five kayakers visiting Utah, was trying to get around a bridge in an area that is difficult to navigate when his kayak flipped east of Vivian Park in Provo Canyon, Wasatch County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jared Rigby said.

"The current was so strong that he was really caught up," Rigby said.

A fisherman who saw the accident called 911, and a search and rescue team tried to get to the victim for an hour before they were able to pull him from the water.

Details about the man, including his name and age, were not immediately released.

Charlie Walbridge But what's the hazard? Sounds like a possible pinning.
Michael Suggs
Michael Suggs I know the hazard real good. It's an old railroad bridge that needs a major update
Michael Suggs People always pin on it. It's barely wide enough for a raft between the columnsManag
Herm Hoops and there's a degree of undercutting to the bridge pier.
Michael Suggs And it's one of the only spots with actual current on that section as well
Michael Suggs When I worked there we had tubers and self guided boats portage around. I've went through there when there has been a boat on each pillar
Martin Wick There is a short bit of the news video that shows a small inflatable pinned on the bridge abutment.


HEBER CITY — Officials identified a man Friday who died in a kayaking accident in the Provo River Tuesday.

Kenneth S. Pollock, 50, of Boca Raton, Florida, was kayaking with a group of five people visiting Utah when he tried to get around a bridge in an area that was difficult to navigate, according to Wasatch County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jared Rigby. The strong current caused Pollock’s kayak to flip east of Vivian Park in Provo Canyon.

The responding search and rescue team tried to reach Pollock for almost an hour before they were able to pull him from the river, Rigby said. Along with the difficult access in the area due to the bridge, the strong current left Pollock "really caught up," Rigby told KSL on Tuesday.

The state Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a drowning, Rigby said.

(KUTV) — Sheriff’s deputies say the man who died in the water of the Provo River Tuesday afternoon was visiting Utah with his family on vacation. The family was kayaking on the river adjacent to U.S. 189 near the Wasatch/Utah County line around 3:15 p.m. when the 50-year-old man got caught in a current under a railroad crossing on the river. “The strength of the water kept him under one of the trusses of the bridge," Wasatch County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jared Rigby said.
Rescue teams from North Fork Fire and Wasatch County were called in and spent approximately an hour in the water before they were able to free the man’s body. Sheriff’s officials did not identify the man pending notification of his family in other states. He and his family are from Florida.
The victim was wearing a life jacket at the time he died, according to Rigby.
“These folks did as much as they could that was correct," Rigby said. "Here to have fun and he got caught in the current." Sheriff's officials say the family was on the river with other people who were familiar with the water. People who frequent that area of the river said it is known as a dangerous spot for kayakers and tubers.
“I hate to hear that anyone would ever drown here because it’s my home water," fly fishing guide Sloan Kittering told 2News. Kittering said he and other guides have pulled several people from the water in the same area.
“Three or four years ago somebody did the same thing, I was guiding right there and had to jump in and save a kid," Kittering said.

Discussing this incident with locals, while there is frequently wood on this bridge, it sounds like the raft and tube companies have helped keep the bridge clear of wood. However, as the bridge piers are at an angle to the current, its possible to pin on the bridge piers, especially on the left where more current pushes. The right bays of the bridge are better for paddlers, and the bridge can be portaged on the right. There are nails and gaps in the boards protruding from the bridge piers that a swimmer can hang up on. There have been other fatalites in this same spot that don't seem to be in this database as of now. 

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