Accident Database

Report ID# 3587

  • Pinned in Boat Against Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description

Fast moving flatwater.

Two person rec. kayak with separate cockpits.

Kayaker Pinned In American River Current Dies

Sacramento, CA—For more than 20 minutes, shocked on-lookers watched as first good Samaritans and then trained rescue crews tried to save a Kayaker pinned under the rushing waters of the American River. The woman, now identified by Sacramento coroner's office as Joyce Tusan-Dalton, 57, from Davis and her kayaking partner had gotten stuck against the base of the Watt Avenue bridge. Their boat flipped over, and the woman was trapped underneath by the current.

"I had her arm out of the water and I could see her skin. I... just wasn't strong enough," said Miguel Maldonado, of San Jose. M aldonado and his father tried to pull the woman out, but couldn't. They watched from shore, as fire fighters struggled to do the same. Maldonado's was father bleeding from wounds he'd gotten in the rescue attempt. "He hit himself on a rock when he was going down stream," Maldonado said of his father. Even the trained fire fighters struggled to hold their ground against the current. In the end , they used a motor boat to pull the kayak free. The victim drifted several yards down river before rescuers could get her in hand. "You get one shot," said Sacramento Fire Captain Jonathan Burgess. "You get one opportunity to do it. If you don’t, you miss and she's going downs stream." Frenzied efforts to resuscitate followed, and then a rush to the hospital where she was pronounced dead early Monday morning.

Kayaker Trapped Underwater On The American River Dies

September 5, 2011

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A kayaker who was wedged underwater next to a roadway overpass support on the American River on Sunday has died. Joyce Dalton, 57, of Davis was pronounced dead at 1 a.m. Monday at UC Davis Medical Center. Authorities said a two-person kayak crashed into the concrete support underneath the Watt Avenue Bridge over the American River at about 7:30 p.m., flipping the kayak upside down and pinning Dalton and a male companion under the water line. The male was able to escape, but Dalton remained pinned underneath. Miguel Maldonado said he and his father jumped into the river after witnessing the accident and desperately tried to free the victim while authorities raced to the scene. “The kayak kind of folded in half,” Miguel said. “I had her arm out of the water…I felt her other arm floating, touching my leg.”

Dalton remained there for 20 minutes until a fire department boat arrived and was able to free her, take her to the shore and perform lifesaving procedures. Dalton was a high school teacher at Vanden High School in Fairfield for more than 13 years. Her family says she was relatively new to the sport of kayaking.

Crews work to free woman pinned under water in American River

11:30 PM, Sep 4, 2011

Written by Maneeza Iqbal

SACRAMENTO, CA - A woman was pinned underwater after her kayak overturned in the American River Sunday evening. The kayak overturned near the Watt Avenue Bridge, where the woman was pinned underwater against the bridge's pylon, Sacramento Metro Fire Department's Water Rescue said. The woman's companion was swept down river, where he eventually reached land, but was in shock. Several people on the river tried to help the woman in high risk conditions.

A father and son who tried to help said the river's current was so strong that they were swept away a few times. "And then all of a sudden I saw something red, I saw her, and I tried to pull her out, but she was just stuck ... and I couldn't pull hard enough," said Miguel Maldonado, who was picnicking along the river with his family. Maldanado's father gashed his leg trying to help.

Arriving water rescue crews were able to draw a line to the woman's position and worked for several minutes before they were able to free her. "The current will actually keep you down, keep you from coming up and in this case, you can have a flotation device and it doesn't. I mean, it's dangerous for our divers," said Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Capt. Jonathan Burgess. The woman was transported to UC Davis Medical Center in critical condition.


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