LOOSE LINE CLAIMS A COMMERCIAL RAFTING GUEST
Middle Fork of the Salmon, Idaho: July 25, 1995
On July 25, 1995 a guided raft became wrapped around a large rock at the bottom of Haystack Rapid on Idaho's Middle Fork of the Salmon. The guide and one guest were washed out of the boat. The guest, Angela Paulos, caught her foot on a loose line and dangled head-down in the water for roughly 10 minutes. The other guests tried desperately to pull her back into the boat. The guide saw what was happening and screamed at the guests to cut the line. He worked his up the shore and positioned himself to swim out to the wrapped boat and cut her free himsef. At the last second one of the guests managed to cut the victim loose. Her life vest was probably pulled off, so she sank under water. The body was found about two weeks later by another rafting party.
SOURCE: Sea-Bass Sears; Idaho Statesman
ANALYSIS: Loose lines are a serious hazard, especially during capsizes or wraps. People may be thrown into unexpected positions and can become entangled, then dragged by the force of the current.