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Accident Description


This event from the weekend of June 24-25, during the 1995 high water season in Colorado, illustrates the danger of being on fast moving water without a life The victim, although classified as swimmers by authorities rather than paddlers, was involved with the sport of river running at the time of their death.

On June 24 Sam Lundeen, a 13 year old Boy Scout, was with his troop floating Ruby Canyon Colorado River near Black Rock, near the Utah border. This is a class II run; water was high, 22,000 cfs. When the group made camp for the night, Lundeen went swimming in the river. Contrary to trip rules he removed his life vest, and disappeared beneath the water soon after. Rescuers searched the area for several days without finding the body. 

SOURCE: Denver Post via Stacy Dorian

ANALYSIS: The absence of life vests in turbulent, fast moving water was a factor in both drownings. This is an avoidable, but often fatal omission. Life vests are worn in whitewater to insure that the swimmer will float, allowing him or her to concentrate of self-protection and self-rescue.