Accident Database

Report ID# 4062

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Kayaker hurt in river mishap

By DAN SEUFERT Manchester, NH Union Leader Correspondent

NORTHFIELD — A kayaker in her 30s was injured Sunday night when she fell into the river and was propelled through an opening in a small hydroelectric dam on the Winnipesaukee River. Seconds later, a local firefighter and whitewater rescue specialist pursued her through the 5- to 10-foot opening in the dam in his kayak about 7:30 p.m.

"We found a woman right down in front of the dam clinging to a branch," Tilton-Northfield Fire department Capt. David Hall said. "Eventually she let go and went through the dam, and I went through the dam with her, trying to catch her." After following her through the dam, Hall also was tossed from his kayak and into the river. He and onlookers found the woman along the river’s edge, a few hundred feet below the dam. She was taken to a local hospital. "She was dazed and in shock, and she was pretty banged up," Hall said. "At one point I had her over my shoulder as I carried her out; she was pretty lethargic."

Hall said he had "bumps and bruises," but nothing worse after his run through the dam. "We train pretty hard for these kinds of things," he said. The woman, who appeared to be paddling with a group of kayakers, was wearing a life jacket. Hall was not sure if she had a helmet on. The river was not at unusual levels for this time of year, Hall said. Onlookers from shore called 911 after seeing the woman struggling in the shallow rapids of that section of the river. "It can be very dangerous where this happened," Hall said. He downplayed his part in the rescue effort. "I had sight of her; I had the possibility of catching her in my kayak if I could have caught up with her," he said.

A press release from Tilton-Northfield Fire & EMS named several others who assisted the search and rescue. "Two brothers, Trevor and Tylor Bouchard, and a friend, Tyler Zinkand of Belmont, initially jumped in at the edge of the dam and were talking to the female as rescuers arrived. The three men raced on foot downriver as the female went through the dam," the press release read. "Trevor Bouchard found the female downstream and pulled her into the shore where he was assisted by the other men. Rescuers met them at the edge of the river and carried the female to Belmont Fire Department’s waiting ambulance."

Woman rescued after kayak tips over in New Hampshire river

Monday, June 27, 2016 - Tilton NH rescue Authorities say a woman was hospitalized after her kayak tipped over in the Winnipesaukee River. Rescuers arrived at the Tilton river about 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Authorities say the river was low and the rocks caused her to capsize. She was unable to swim to shore.

Tilton-Northfield Fire and EMS Capt. David Hall told WMUR the woman clung to a branch in the water as the river carried her toward a dam. Hall says he grabbed another kayak and paddled to her. But the woman lost her grip on the branch and floated through the dam. He says the current eventually let up and first responders carried her to safety. She remained hospitalized Sunday night but is expected to be okay. Authorities didn’t immediately identify her.

Associated Press

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