Accident Database

Report ID# 399

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  • Health Problem
  • Asthma Attack
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

NEW HAMPSHIRE DOCTOR KILLED ON IDAHO'S PAYETTE RIVER

South Fork Canyon Garden Valley, ID: July 15, 1995

DESCRIPTION: Dr. Peter Wittman, chief pathologist of the Frisbee Memorial Hospital, died from an asthma attack he suffered after being thrown from a raft on the South Fork Canyon of the Payette River in Idaho. Whitman was rafting on a commercial trip when his raft overturned, dumping him, his wife, and five others into the rapids. The other members of the group swam for shore; the doctor was washed over Little Falls. Dr. Whitman, who suffered from Asthma, was not breathing when he was pulled from the water moments later and could not be revived.

SOURCE: Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, NH; Rusty Bowman, Twin Falls, ID.

ANALYSIS: Several whitewater deaths over the years have been linked to asthma, which makes breathing in cold water much more difficult. Those who suffer from this condition must take it into account when running rivers.

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