Accident Database

Report ID# 3618

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description


New River Gorge National River (WV) West Virginia Man Drowns On The New River On Saturday evening, May 26, 59 year old Eddie Ramsey was ferrying camping gear across the New River to a camp near Short Creek above Double Z rapid when the jon boat he was in capsized. Ramsey and his extended family were gathered for their traditional Memorial Day weekend near Nuttalburg, West Virginia. Ramsey, who grew up in the area, had many years of experience operating a jon boat. The New River was flowing approximately 8,000 cubic feet per second at the time, about 4.5 feet above normal summer pool. He and his son had just started across the river when the boat filled with water and capsized. Neither man was wearing a life vest. Ramsey's son made it to shore, but Eddie Ramsey was having trouble.

Family members went in the river to help him ashore, but he was unresponsive. A passing private raft stopped to assist, and they began CPR. Paramedics arrived about 20 minutes later and continued working on the man until Medical Control advised them to discontinue CPR. Rangers and numerous volunteers assisted in recovering Mr. Ramsey's body from the steep terrain, and he was transferred to the state Medical Examiner's Office. Rangers recovered the jon boat the next day. The incident is under investigation by the National Park Service.

[Submitted by Jeff West, Chief Ranger]

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