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Accident Description


From: Nathan Miller <Nathan.Miller@docret.com>

Date: 9/8/16 11:15 AM (GMT-07:00)

I attended the memorial service for Jaime Page at a private Arkansas river beach, which is the put in for the royal gorge section, where he worked as a safety kayaker. I met the guy that was the only person who was there when Jaime drowned and he showed me exactly what happend and where with pictures so I feel to share the details in hopes to clarify for those who want to know exactly what happened.

Jaime was an expert kayaker (and raft guide) with excellent formal and personal training with years of experience including on class 5 and he boated a lot including twice a day all summer this year on the royal Gorge as a safety kayaker where he rescued many swimmers. It was his first time in Gore canyon. After scouting, Jaime ran the main line, missed the crux move of Gore Rapid and got beat down hard in the super powerful hole for about 20 seconds. The r1 friend with him had properly set safety on safety rock, the large boulder one can clip into with carabiner just a few feet from the hole.

Jaime came out of his boat and floated right next to the safety who tossed a rope but Jaime didn't catch it. His swim started at the very top and biggest part of miles of continuous class 4 and 5 rapids. He was conscious and in a defensive swimming position when safety lost site of him fairly quicky as he flushed down stream fast. Safety climbed up the steep bank to the train tracks with rope and ran down the tracks to try to catch him but never saw him again until finally some fishermen miles down stream after the main rapids saw his body floating in the middle of the current and swam out to get him. Even though Jaime was in excellent athletic condition and a strong swimmer with plenty of practice rescuing other swimmers he never made it out of the current and flush drowned. 

In light of this tragedy which has caused so much grief to his friends and family I'd like to pass on a basic safety observation I heard from some of his friends and coworkers.Boaters should consider multiple layers of support/safety no matter how skilled they are. One very well placed trained safety might not be enough...a second layer should be other boaters (plural) in position ready to chase down a swimmer and another safety rope positioned a bit down stream from the 1st rope if possible.

 

GRAND COUNTY - A 25-year-old Pennsylvania man had died after being thrown from his kayak along the Colorado River on Thursday. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Gore Canyon at about 6:10 p.m. on a report of a possible drowning. When authorities arrived on scene they found a man deceased on the shoreline of the river. Friends of the man told deputies that the kayaker was about 1 mile up the river from the Pump House launch area when he was thrown from the kayak. The victim’s body was located at about 9 p.m. His kayak has not yet been found. Officials say the incident appears to be an accident. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Coroner are investigating.

Copyright 2016 KUSA

The Grand County Coroner’s Office has released the name of the kayaker that died in Gore Canyon on Thursday, August 11. James “Jaime” Page, 25, of Pennsylvania drowned while kayaking according to Public Information Officer for the Sheriff’s office, Lt. Dan Mayer. Mayer said the incident appears to be a tragic accident and does not appear suspicious. Page was a very experienced kayaker and was kayaking with a friend who was also an experienced boater. Other people on the river assisted in locating Page and pulled him to the shore. The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is still trying to locate and recover Page’s kayak and dry bag from the river. The kayak is orange and has a light blue Pegasus sticker on the front. The dry bag may contain Page’s cell phone and personal items, which will be returned to his family. Rafting companies and law enforcement agencies down river have been notified and asked to notify the Grand County Sheriff’s Office if anything is located. Communication is key in this situation because someone unaware of the body recovery may think there is someone missing if they see an empty kayak floating down the river. The Sheriff’s office has contacted other counties as well in the event that the kayak travels outside of Grand County down the Colorado River. Anyone with any information regarding Page’s personal property is asked to contact Lt. Dan Mayer at 970-531-1776.

The death is a critical reminder of how important river safety is. Page was very experienced in whitewater, and his unfortunate accident is an admonition that there is no such thing as being too cautious, especially in rapids like the ones in Gore Canyon. Though it does not appear that Page or the boaters he was with made any mistakes during this incident, safety reminders are always good: Never boat alone; always have other members of your party setting safety at rapids of higher risk; have other members ready with throw ropes as each person navigates their way through the rapid; and be familiar with the rapids in Gore, or be with someone who is familiar.

This was the second death in Gore Canyon this season, though the two incidents are very different.

Authorities located the body of a missing kayaker on Saturday, July 23 near the “Applesauce” and “Fisherman’s Nightmare” rapids in Gore Canyon. The body was identified as Patrick “Mac” Maccormick Kelsall, 19, of Avon. Kelsall, however was not in his kayak when he went missing, and it was determined that he fell in the water at night while his friend was out collecting firewood. According to a press release, the entire search and recovery encompassed 1,088 official work hours and included the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, Grand County Search and Rescue, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Search and Rescue, Summit County Water Rescue, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Vail Mountain Rescue, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Flight for Life. Some of Kelsall’s family and friends were also included into a supplementary ground searches and kayak searches of the river.

Gore Canyon was flowing at 1,090 cubic feet per second (cfs) as of Thursday, Aug. 15.

 

Obituary: James David Charlton Page

We lost Jamie on August 11, 2016, in a kayak accident in the Gore Canyon of the Colorado River in Grand County, Colorado. There was nothing grand about it, except perhaps the remarkable beauty of the mountains and valleys all around, no doubt part of what drew Jamie there. He was working as a safety kayaker (such irony) on the Arkansas River for the Royal Gorge RaftingCompany in Cañon City, Colorado, and had found a true home among a community of like minded souls doing every day what he loved most in the world.


Jamie had developed into a world class kayaker who wanted nothing more than to spend every spare moment on a fast-running creek or river. On work days he escorted tiers of rafts through the whitewater of Royal Gorge in his kayak, pulling “swimmers” from the rapids when they could not reach their raft, and on days off he paddled with friends on nearby rivers. He was happy with his place and his companions in that world, and had set as a goal for himself competing in kayaking in the 2020 Olympics.

Born April 13, 1991, Jamie was 25 years old. He was thoughtful, generous, sincere and much loved and admired by friends from high school and college, and throughout the kayaking, rafting, and outdoor communities both in Colorado and North Carolina/Tennessee, where he had gone to school and worked previously. You can see many of their moving comments and loving tributes if you find on Jamie’s Facebook page.

THE SWARTHMOREAN
Your Hometown Newspaper since 1893

Jamie grew up in Swarthmore, attending Swarthmore-Rutledge School, Strath Haven Middle School, and Strath Haven High School, where he graduated in 2009. In his early years he was very active in SRA/Nether Providence baseball, basketball, and soccer. At the high school he played trumpet in the marching band, and could often be seen running the flag in front of the bleachers after Strath Haven touchdowns. He was an important part of the Stage Crew/Tech Crew working on theater productions, and ran on the Cross Country team.

At Warren Wilson College, a small progressive private college in Asheville, North Carolina, Jamie spent his first semester on a 72 day Outward Bound program with other incoming freshmen and women camping and canoeing in the Pisgah National Forest and Florida Everglades. This set the tone for his college career as he was inspired to major in Outdoor Leadership and minor in Environmental Studies.

He spent summers working as a whitewater and water safety counselor for kid’s camps, and as a river instructor for North Carolina Outward Bound. In 2013, his senior year, Jamie captained Warren Wilson’s collegiate level national championship paddling team, and was the Men’s Kayak individual national champion. Most recently Jamie had worked for Smoky Mountain Outdoors, as a whitewater rafting guide on the Pigeon River in Hartford, Tennessee, but he spent as much time as he could, at any time of the year and in any weather, running Class III, IV, and V rapids on rivers throughout western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and West Virginia. Recently he had begun to video his experiences with his trusty Go-Pro camera, to post regularly on YouTube, and to write about life on the rivers and among the whitewater family.

On August 16 large gatherings were held in his honor by members of the rafting and kayaking
community both in Hartford and in Cañon City. He was remembered as an energetic, humorous, trusted, and relentlessly positive young man whose smile never left his face for long. The motto among his grieving Colorado friends quickly became, “Smile for Jamie.”

Jamie is survived by  his parents, Joy Charlton and David Page of Swarthmore; two sisters, Lindsay, of Budapest, Hungary, and Charlotte, of Swarthmore and Asheville, North Carolina; aunts and uncles on both sides of the family, and many, many cousins. Friends wishing to honor Jamie are welcome to join our family at the Swarthmore Friends Meeting
House on Saturday, September 17, at 2 p.m., for an informal gathering in his honor, with a reception to follow. Those who wish to make a donation in his honor can do so at americanwhitewater.org, a solid nonprofit working on behalf of America’s rivers, the enduring veins of the land.

Submitted by the Page Family

 

The word is he got stuck in ginger hole(gore rapid) swam and the R1er in the black hyside mini max tried chasing him down and couldn't catch up....a fisherman saw him floating by and got him out of the water.
 

Author: brentaustin

Subject: Re: Another Kayak fatality

Message:

Yeah, I learned a little more from Zac, who was his closest boating friend. You all may remember that they came to the NPFF, and tandem canoed the Elkhorn with Zac Lewis (who works with and is close friends to Amelia Taylor that many of you know), had some swims, had lots of fun - great guy. Zac is pretty devastated. I know the feeling.

 Apparently, it happened at Gore Rapid on Gore Canyon, the weekend before the Gore Canyon Race. I used to do that race and I often ran the sneak (still IV+), and only ran the main line a few times. It is legitimate Class V! Anyway, he was with a friend who was in an R1 and when he swam after a beat down in a hole, his friend was unable to get to him in time. I am still not sure if he swam after running the main line or the sneak in Gore Rapid, only that is where the accident took place. I do not know if it was flush drowning, or head injury either. His service is in PA according to Zac, I think this weekend. If anyone hears or sees a link, I would appreciate you posting it here. I imagine that AW will have a report before long if not already...

Very sad situation. This is Zac's first loss of a good friend on a river. It will never get any easier unfortunately and sux every single time while your heart is ripped out. Only thing I told him I do is to go boat and reflect on your bud. It helps...



Death in Gore Canyon Thursday

 

On Thursday August 11 around 6:10 p.m. the Grand County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Gore Canyon of the Colorado River on a report of a possible drowning.

The original details given to dispatch were vague and confusing. When Deputies arrived on scene, they were directed to a male kayaker that was deceased on the shoreline of the river. Friends of the man told Deputies he had been kayaking through the Gore Canyon, approximately one mile up river from the Pump House launch area, and was thrown out of his kayak.
 
The companions tentatively identified the male as a 25-year-old from Pennsylvania. Jamie Page.
 
The Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Coroner are conducting an investigation, but it appears to be a kayaking accident. No further information on the victim is being released pending positive identification and notification of relatives.
 
Sheriff’s Deputies and Grand County Search and Rescue recovered the victims’ body at approximately 9 p.m. Thursday night. The victim’s kayak was still missing and businesses and other law enforcement agencies on the Colorado River have been notified and asked to assist in recovering it.