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Accident Database: Accident #39765

Date: 2018-10-08
Victim: Matthew Hughes
Victim Age: 35
River: Elkhorn Creek
Section: Forks of the Elkhorn
Location: Jim Beam Old Granddad Distillery Dam
Gauge: 850 cfs
Water Level: Medium
River Difficulty: III
Cause Code(s): Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
Injury Type(s): Does not Apply
Factors Code(s): Poor Group / Scene Management
One Boat Trip
Age: 35
Private/Commercial: Private
Boat Type: Kayak - Other
Group Info:
Other Victim Names:
Detailed Description:

Time 1:39 PM Recreational boater, wearing a PFD. Portaged the dam but apparently set in too close and got pulled back in and recirculated. Rescue was attempted by the victim's friends, but victim could not hang on to the rope. Body later found downstream.



FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Franklin County Sheriff's Office says one man is dead after a kayaking accident in Elkhorn Creek. Sheriff Pat Melton says the man drowned after he put his kayak too close to a dam. The current sucked the man underwater. The man's body was recovered near the end of Colston Lane.

“Tragic end to a beautiful day. Up to that point they did everything right. He was wearing a life vest, so he was doing everything he was supposed to be doing," Sheriff Melton said, "Just the water, as you can tell, it’s flowing very rapidly. And you’ve always got to be careful, you’ve always got to watch what you’re doing. Dams are notorious for that undertow.”

Authorities have not identified the man who drowned. Kentucky Fish and Wildlife is handling the investigation.


Lexington man dies in Elkhorn Creek kayak accident

October 09, 2018 10:58 AM

A 35-year-old Lexington man died Monday in a kayak accident at Elkhorn Creek, according to the Franklin County coroner.


Matthew Hughes drowned while kayaking down Elkhorn Creek, one of the state’s longest creeks at 17 miles. Hughes had gotten sucked into the undertow after getting too close to a dam. After holding onto a rope for nearly two minutes, he went underwater. Elkhorn Creek photo by Charles Bertram cbertram@herald-leader.com

Kayaker’s death spotlights Elkhorn Creek’s hidden dangers

When 35-year-old Matthew Hughes launched into Elkhorn Creek on his kayak on Oct. 8, he had no idea it would be the last time he was on dry land.


Report Status: Reported

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