Accident Database

Report ID# 3516

  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Near Drowning
  • Other

Accident Description

Two rafts of family and friends were floating down the Green from the base of Flaming Gorge Dam. Appoximately 2 miles down river, raft with Wendy, her daughter, and other family members/friends decided to head towards a flat rock about 6 to 8 feet wide with water rushing over it. Thought it would be fun to ride the small rapid. Raft went over the rapid, bent in half flipping 5 or the 8 people out.

People flipped into the water were Wendy, her 9 year-old daughter, 6 year old son, 10 year old neice, and adult friend. Wendy's husband was able to quickly grab his 6 year old son and niece out. Adult friend was helped into the raft also. Wendy and her daughter were left as the raft continued down river. Wendy and her daughter had been pulled into a hydraulic/hole that was behind the rock. They both went down repeatedly together and then were pushed back up to do it all again. Wendy's daughter was finally able to swim out after being repeatedly pushed by Wendy when they would half way resurface. Wendy was then pulled back under and continued for doing this for about 15 minutes. Her face would barely reach the surface so she could occasionally grab a breath. Finally, she was pulled under and didn't come back up.

Family was frantically trying to get to shore in the fast moving river so they could make it back up stream to try to help. They didn't have a throw rope, so they weren't sure what they could do. Another person jumping in would just result in another person drowning. Wendy wasn't seen for about a minute and a half until she suddenly resurfaced and started floating down stream towards more rapids and logs. She was still able to scream for help when she came up. A raft from the shore quickly paddled out to grab and pull Wendy in the boat before hitting the next rapids. She was blue from lack of oxygen and hypothermia/shock. No lasting injuries thankfully.

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