Accident Database

Report ID# 3786

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • One Boat Trip

Accident Description

Posted on NPS Morning Report on 12/02/13:

New River Gorge National River (WV)

Man Drowns In New River During Hunting Trip

Gary Adkins, 36, of Pax, West Virginia, drowned on Monday, November 25th, after falling out of his canoe into the New River during a hunting trip. He was not wearing a life jacket. Adkins was with his two teenage stepsons when his canoe overturned in the Class 2 Meadow Creek Rapids shortly before 5 p.m. Adkins swam after the canoe while one of the stepsons helped the other, who could not swim, to shore. He then swam back out into the river and retrieved Adkins and pulled him to shore. Adkins was unresponsive, so his stepsons began CPR.

Another hunter, hearing calls for help, arrived and assisted the boys. Rescuers were summoned; responding were rangers, Green Sulphur VFD personnel, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources police officers, and local EMS and CSX railroad personnel. Both stepsons were transported to a local hospital and treated for hypothermia. Rangers recovered the canoe and personal belongings, including hunting firearms, the following day in the middle of a winter storm that brought heavy rain to the park.

The accident happened on the opening day of the state buck deer firearms season. The park is open to hunting and rangers handled a number of hunting-related incidents that day, including this one. Ranger CW Mitchem was IC.

[Submitted by Frank Sellers, Acting Chief Ranger]

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!