Accident Database: Accident #3519

Date: 2011-04-30
Victim: Two unidentifled paddlers
Victim Age:
River: Bear (Petoskey: Sheridan Street to Lake
Reach #:
Section: Petoskey: Sheridan Street to Lake (1.15 mile)
Location: 2/3 of way through run
Gauge: over top of Sheridan St gauge
Water Level: Flood
River Difficulty: IV
Accident Cause: Pinned in Boat Against Strainer
Cause Code(s): Impact/Trauma
Injury Type(s): Head Injury / Concussion
Shoulder Dislocation
Factors Code(s): Other
Experienced/Inexperienced: Extensive Experience
Private/Commercial: Private
Boat Type: Whitewater Kayak
Group Info:
Other Victim Names:
Detailed Description:

Two members of our party of 4 were injured running the Bear at high water. At this level the middle section of this run is a committing Class IV, half a mile of continuous very fast water without eddies or breaks, with 4 sticky holes that must be punched. It is shallow and rocky, and combined with the powerful current impact injuries are very likely for inverted boaters or swimmers.

The last and largest of the holes stopped our third boater, flipped him violently, and held him. In the fast current, despite leaving more than 50 yards between boats, the sweep boater was driven into the hole, T-boning the inverted boater and knocking him free but being forcefully windowshaded himself. The third boater emerged with a concussion and was rescued by a member of our party not running that stretch (an experienced lifeguard), who was one of several setting safety below, after another member had reached him with a rope that held long enough to move him to the edge. The sweep boater self-rescued despite a dislocated shoulder, climbing one-handed from the water, and from there was assisted by those setting safety.

Report Status: Reported

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