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Accident Description


From Boatertalk: The boat that was pinned is a green Jefe Grande. The bow of my boat completely wrapped around the pin rock and caved in. After the adrenaline wore off I was in a lot of pain and believed I might have a fracture in my right leg, so I was not able to hang out for the water to shut off to try and retrieve my boat. This morning I have swelling and deep bruising in both legs and have torn the muscle in my right calf. Below I will give a run down of what happened as well as the lessons I took away.

We arrived at Tower after 12 and the water was probably 650 to 750 and rising. We were planning on doing laps so I decided to go ahead and run Tower and Fist and wait for the water behind Fist. I have run Tower at this level before and never had any problems. This time my problems started in the slot where I hit some slack water that stalled my momentum and messed up my angle. I adjusted my angle paddled toward the boof without the speed I needed. I hit the boof close to where I wanted and landed flat but didn't have enough speed to pull me through the micro eddy that back feeds into the hole. This has happened to me before at 800 and above and what usually happens at that level is the hole catches my stern and I am staring at the sky for a couple of seconds as it spits me out.

At this level the hole acts differently. The hole pulled my stern back into the hole without squirting me. The subbed me and then pulled the rest of my boat into the seam. I subbed out to my chest in the seam and felt my boat inching forward. As I got to the end of the seam my bow hit the pin rock on the right side boat. The force of the current was pushing down and out, so the boat hit the rock and went down while pushing the boat further into the pin. As the boat continued forward it began to fold around the rock and took me sideways into a heads down pin with the bottom folding on the rock. The boat crumpled in pinched my right calf and left thigh.

I am not sure how I managed to get out before it wrapped completely. I surfaced directly in front of the VW rock and tried to swim right but current pushed me left.

The lessons I am taking away from this is that Tower is much more dangerous at that middle level than at normal release. Also it is imperative to keep momentum through the slot into the boof. The main cause of my pin happened in the top slot when I decided to adjust my angle and lose my momentum. Next time I will paddle hard for my B or C line rather than going for my A line and losing momentum. Lastly instead of bracing for a stern squirt I should have paddled my butt off away from the hole. I haven't got my head completely around what happened, but I realize how close I came to being another boater the RF decided it was their time. The scariest part about this incident is that I don't feel like I made any mistakes or bad decisions. I have ran this rapid form 700 to over 1000 cfs. I have had good lines and bad lines but never this.

Please be careful everybody because I was very, very lucky yesterday. Hope this helps. as the water level decreases at Tower the pourover shifts to river left which means so does the boof line.

Jon boofed right where you need to if you decide to run main line at 650-700. You end up boofting about 1 foot left of a normal release line which means you land in the seam on a good line. If you don't skip forward then water builds up on your boat from the pourover and you hit bottom. What is down there I don't think anyone knows but it is deadly pin spot and I don't know the details from the boater that ended up there yesterday but I am extremely happy he was able to extricate himself. I never even look at that line anymore unless I'm 100% sure the level is 800cfs or higher.

Don't know the details from yesterday but I do know a lot of people ended up catching up to the water which may have put some people running Tower at 100 cfs lower. Is this what happened? If you put on before 1:00 and plan to run main line Tower please make sure you have full flow. Again, not sure this is what happened but regardless be weary if it doesn't feel full flow in the lead in rapids.

We put on around 12 and boated down to tower expecting to hang out while the water filled in. As the water was filling in, a guy in a green jefe decided to go for it at roughly the 750 cfs level. Going over the drop, he landed in the seam and completely disappeared instantly. We all bolted to the lower rocks to see if there was anything we could do for rescue at that point. Fortunately it was only a matter of about 5 seconds before the boater was able to extract himself from his boat and swim to shore. His legs were bruised and he said he felt the boat begin to fold. It sound like he had the exact same mishap as John but fortunately this guy made it out. From watching this incident and hearing the story about john, There must be an undercut piton rock below the surface that is quite deadly in the case of a sub out line. We never saw the boat come out, but it was a green jefe. Very scary couple of seconds.