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Accident Description

From the Coastal Canoeists Message Board

Yesterday on our 2:30 run a young adult male swam through Hollywood. I was sitting at the far back eddy at the rock below Washing Machine, when I heard someone call out that there was a swimmer. Looked up river and saw a non-boater struggling to get out just above Hollywood. About the same time, I saw a head pop up almost even with me in the flow. I just figured, another kid doing dumb stuff. He didn't seem to be doing a whole lot, but floated the left line. I watched the first swimmer I saw get out above Hollywood.

Moving down river, I saw Fat Doug with the second swimmer holding onto his boat with Shaggy there for support. They had gotten him to a rock by the time I got there. When I caught up with them it was obvious that the swimmer was totally exhausted and disoriented. I paddled up to a River City Raft, guided by Chris, and asked if they could get him off the river. Which he took care of. Thanks Chris! I later found out that Fat Doug had seen the swimmer come through and had noticed that he had a glazed look on his face and wasn't making any effort at self rescue. He had become foot entrapped/pinned below 747 Rock and was underwater and motionless for about 10 seconds.

Fat Doug had come by and grabbed him and he became free of whatever he was stuck on (Doug said he didn't think that what he did freed the swimmer, but he did come free)! Then Doug towed the swimmer to a rock where the raft extracted him. A happy ending to what would have surely ended up badly.

Mike Rotch Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:01 am Subject: thanks everyone Thanks for the kudos everyone. And thanks to Chris and the River City raft company for getting the guy off the river. This is by far the most frightening thing I've seen on the river. The guy was entrapped and submerged long enough for me to catch the eddy below the rock, attain into the flow (as best I could) and attempt to grab/free him twice. Once I got him onto my boat and his head above water, he started breathing (thankfully), but he was definitely disoriented and exhausted. I honestly couldn't tell if the disorientation was due to alcohol or lack of oxygen. I'm just glad I was in a position to help.

Witness Narrative: Non-boater swam hollywood rapid and became foot entrapped in the runout below the rapid. Victim was actively drowning prior to getting entrapped. I was able to attempt twice to reach the victim while he was entrapped and submerged. He consequently became free from the entrapment at which point I pulled him onto my boat and assisted him to safety. He began breathing spontaniously and was able to interact with rescuers (by the time we got to an eddy, there were two other kayakers and a commercial raft there for support), although still very disoriented. It is unclear whether he intended to swim the rapid or was swept into the current. The commercial raft guide assisted the victim into his raft and transported him to shore.