Accident Database

Report ID# 377

  • Pinned in Boat Against Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Solo Paddling

Accident Description



Hoback River near Jackson, Wyoming May 30, 1995


DESCRIPTION: On May 30, 1995 two local beginning kayakers, Joe Lynch and Kyle Martin, were running this local river at a moderately high level. This is a class II+ roadside run with a number of large strainers. Lynch flipped, swam, and lost his paddle. Martin decided to continue downstream in his rented kayak to pick up their car. Lynch waited two hours, then began walking. He was picked up by friends, and notified authorities that his partner was missing.


A full scale search involving helicopters, dogs, and search and rescue team members began at once. After four days they had narrowed down the possible accident sites to a massive strainer at the base of a cliff. A ranger rappelled down and attached a cable to some enormous spruce trees which had plunged into the river. A helicopter, after an hour of patent work, was able to pull the snag apart. This released the pinned kayak, which was recovered, but the victim's body rolled over and disappeared from view.


SOURCE: Jackson Hole Guide; Jackson Hole Daily Guide


ANALYSIS: Because the victim was boating alone we know very little about the actual accident, and cannot guess whether the presence of a second paddler might have made a rescue possible. Certainly it would have improved the odds.

Reservoir remains ID’d as kayaker drowned in Wyoming in 1995

September 17, 2021

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Human remains found in a reservoir on the Wyoming-Idaho state line have been identified as a kayaker who drowned in a river in Wyoming in 1995, investigators said. Kyle Martin, 24, was kayaking on the Hoback River when a companion lost his paddle. Martin went ahead but was never seen alive again.

Relatives of Martin and sheriff’s officials briefly saw Martin’s body after a helicopter dislodged his kayak from a snag in the river a couple days later, Teton County sheriff’s deputy Dave Hodges told the Jackson Hole News & Guide. “He separates and he’s on the surface, but I didn’t expect him to then submerge almost as quickly as he emerged,” Hodges recalled.v

Last winter, Hodges saw an entry in Forensics Magazine about human remains found in Palisades Reservoir, downstream from the Hoback River.A DNA sample from Martin’s mother confirmed they were her son’s remains. Hodges called Martin’s brother with the news Sept. 10.

“It was an incredible moment to call family after 26 y ears and say that your son and your brother is finally coming home,” Hodges said. “We both had a moment of tears. It was a sense of closure for a family that’s been waiting so long to have their son and their brother home.”

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