Accident Database

Report ID# 3918

  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • High Water

Accident Description

Guillaume Bonnot, 36, of Caldwell Street, Athens, died Thursday, March 12, 2015 following a kayaking accident at Camp Creek of the Bluestone Gorge. After a run on the Bluestone, he and a friend decide to run Camp Creek, a local trib of the Bluestone that flows into the main river about 400 yards above the Eades Mill Bridge. It's a 2 mile run with several bedrock ledges. They put on about 5 pm. Apparently, both became stuck in a hydraulic at the base of the last leg of the stoutest rapid on Camp Creek.

Both swam. Frenchi swam left, his female companion swam right. She made it to shore. He disappeared around the bend, and unbeknownst to her, became pinned under a tree. Suddenly, what was billed as a 45 minute cruise, became a [quite literally} life and death experience. Not totally oriented to the locale, and given the ruggedness of the terrain, the female boater took several hours to find human habitation.

So sad. Spring snow melt, floodstage rivers, faiding light; all tend to increase the dangers of what is often billed as a interesting cruise.

Body of missing kayaker found in Camp Creek

Posted: Mar 11, 2015

By Danielle Zacherl 

NB: The accident happened in daylingt, despite this article!!

CAMP CREEK, MERCER COUNTY - The search for a man missing after going kayaking along Camp Creek and the Bluestone River is over. According to Officer Wood with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resource said the body was found in Camp Creek just before noon on Thursday, March 11, 2015. Officials said the man who was killed is Guillaume "Frenchie" Bonnot. Bonnot was kayaking with Caroline Jonsson. She said they were in separate kayaks, and they put into the creek at around 5 p.m., but the darkness fell quickly.

She was separated from Bonnot when the kayaks rolled in a rapid sometime around 9 p.m. Jonsson was able to make it to shore about a mile downstream. She made her way to a nearby house and called for help at around 9:30 p.m. Search crews from the West Virginia State Police, Bluestone Valley Volunteer Fire Department and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources worked to find Bonnot on Wednesday night, but were hampered by heavy fog. The search resumed on Thursday morning, and continued until the body was found. Officials said that the body will be taken to the Office of the State Medical Examiner for positive identification.

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