On May 16th Teresa Scott, a rafting guest on the Cheat River, died after a long swim after her raft capsized in Coliseum Rapid. The water level was 4’6”, which is getting high. A commercial raft flipped at Recyclotron. The victim’s body did not immediately surface. An empty life jacket was seen floating through Lower Coliseum soon after the raft flipped. The rafting company lined the banks from Upper Coliseum through Lower Coliseum to look for the victim. Between 45 to 60 minutes after the raft flipped the victim’s body resurfaced in the lower part of Upper Coliseum in the rock ledge (the rock ledge that forces you to break hard river left after making the drop at Pyramid Rock).
The victim was wearing a full length wetsuit but no life jacket. The nylon jacket she was wearing was badly torn suggesting that she may have hung up on an obstruction and been trapped underwater for a short time. A safety boater (kayaker) from another commercial company made first contact with the victim in the upper part of Middle Coliseum. Still in Middle Coliseum, a raft from a third commercial company pulled the Ms. Scott out of the water and into the raft, edding out at the bottom of Lower Coliseum on river left.
At this level swims through Colisium, Rapid is a bad place to swim. Everyone goes long and hard here. Add the loss of the PFD and you have the makings of a disaster.