Accident Database

Report ID# 372

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • Inexperience
  • Poor Planning
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description


DESCRIPTION: Six mile creek is a serious class IV-V run south of Anchorage , flowing from Turnigan Pass into the Turnigan Arm of Cooke Inlet. News reports indicate that two canoeists drowned here on May 23. They did not use life vests and were paddling a Coleman Scanoe. No one witnessed the accident, and the cause of the drownings are unknown. One body was recovered by an area miner; the other washed into the sea and may never be recovered due to high tides and treacherous mud flats. A helicopter search by Alaska state troopers failed to recover the body.

SOURCE: Slim Ray and the Anchorage Daily News

ANALYSIS: The accident was caused by inexperience, leading to the following errors:  1) lack of good information about the Sixmile river,  2) the absence of life vests and helmets,  3) a wildly inappropriate choice of craft for whitewater,  4) the lack of other boats for rescue support and  5) higher than normal water levels.

CONCLUSIONS: It is recommenced that warning signs about the nature of this run be posted at popular access points. Without these precautions it seems certain that more uninformed paddlers will attempt this stretch as Alaska becomes more settled.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!