Accident Database

Report ID# 3486

  • Foot Entrapment
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Teen drowns while rafting on Ocoee River

The Associated Press Jun 20, 2011

COPPERHILL, Tenn. -- Tennessee officials say a 14-year-old boy has drowned while rafting on the Ocoee River. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesman Dan Hicks said the boy, whose name was not immediately being released, was part of a group of kids involved with a camp from Atlanta. Hicks said the incident happened at around 1 p.m. Sunday. Hicks said the teen was wearing a life preserver and a helmet when he fell overboard and became lodged under the water. Hicks said someone dislodged the boy using a paddle. Hicks said the boy had a faint heartbeat. He was transported to Copper Basin Medical Center and pronounced dead. The TWRA and state park officials are still investigating.

The second rafting fatality on the Ocoee River this season was a Florida teenager, and an agency spokeswoman said he was wearing a life jacket and helmet but his leg got trapped under a rock in the water. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman. Tisha Calabrese-Benton said the Broward County, Fla., youth was dumped from the raft along with the guide and others who either got ashore or were rescued upstream from the Whitewater Center.

Calabrese-Benton said the 16-year-old victim's name may not be released due to his age. She said the deaths - on Sunday and June 6 - are the first Ocoee rafting fatalities since 2005. Calabrese-Benton said the Ocoee has had a "good safety record" when you consider the thousands of people who visit the river. Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ramah Darom camper dies in whitewater rafting accident

Monday, June 20, 2011

An11th-grade camper from Davie, Fla., was killed in an accident on the Ocoee River in eastern Tennessee yesterday as his group was white-water rafting.

Andrew Silvershein was one of seven Ramah Darom campers on the raft when it overturned in the rapids. The other six made it to shore but he was trapped under a rock, under the surface. According to reports, a paddle was used to free him and CPR administered, but he could not be revived.

The Ocoee is a popular white-water rafting spot, and was the site for Olympics competitions in 1996. The camp used Big Frog Expeditions, which had staff on each raft, and all campers wore life preservers and helmets.

The campers from the Gesher age group immediately returned to the Clayton, Ga., camp, where they each had a chance to call home; according to Director Geoffrey Menkowitz, senior staffers called each Gesher family before the campers returned.  Today, each age group was to have age-appropriate discussions about the incident, and social workers and rabbis were to be on hand. Andrew's sister is in the Halutzim (rising 6th-grade) group at the camp.

In an email to camp families, Menkowitz said "We offer our condolences and our heartfelt prayers for the Silvershein family. We have received many email messages and phone calls, especially from our families in Florida offering support. We will provide funeral and shiva information as soon as possible. "We are grateful for your outpouring of support and love. It is a real source of strength for our entire community as we navigate these difficult days."

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!