Accident Database

Report ID# 3691

Help
  • Caught in a Natural Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Diego Rodriguez (43) died on December 24th while paddling the Casa de Piedra in Bariloche, Argentina with his son Dany (16). This was a class 4-5 stretch on a high water day. Here's an account by a friend, Matias Nunez:

I just got back from that spot from checking it again and try to understand better what happened. There is a hole that after certain water level, you will get stuck with 100% chances. It is the entrance of a narrow canyon (7 feet wide, almost vertical walls). so you go in knowing you have to portage. We always had troubles there until we started using a fixed rope attached to an old tree. We would attach the boat from the grab loops with a dynamic knot with a lock, get in the boat from an almost vertical position, and slowly belaying yourself and getting into the water 7 feet downstream from the hole. Sketchy, but good training too.

The day before i went to run the river with a friend. a high water day. all rapids are better , but the hole gets big, with more than 9 feet of backwash. So we needed to find another anchor. There was another tree 20 feet downstream and higher, that we could use. We have pointed it before with Diego, as an option for a high water day, but we never used it before. So between the two of us we had to carry the boats, hanging from the vertical walls, and after lots team of work, we got in the water. The last one stays there alone, as there are no eddies until you run one or two more rapids.

Diego got there with Dany (Diego┬┤s son, 16 years old) the next day. They put on on the 24th around 43:0pm. The river was at the same level or higher. At the portage, he managed to get Dany in the water using his own rope. Dany went downstream and waited in an eddy. In these situations it would be always diego doing all the rope work as Dany does not know yet much about it. There was no possible visual contact from where Dany was standing and Diego. He waited for while, got out of the boat, and later he saw the boat upside down floating downstream. The anchor tree fell. the roots were not good.

We will never know what exactly happened. Dany walked the next rapid, sometimes there is a tree, but at those levels you can go on top of it. Probably he did not fell the urgency to move fast, probably thought his dad was upstream. when he made it downstream, around the corner after the next rapid (he lost some minutes here), he saw the boat, still attached to the tree, and Diego was almost all underwater by the side of rock. He tried to get him, but the both went thru the next rapid. dany got stuck on a rock and Diego went downstream. He finally got to him like 100 yards but it was too late.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!