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Accident Database: Accident #41401

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Date: 2018-11-15
Victim: Adrian Kiernan
Victim Age: 31
River: Humla Karnarli
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Location:
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River Difficulty: N/A
Cause Code(s):
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Age: 31
Experienced/Inexperienced: Expert Paddler
Private/Commercial: Private
Boat Type: Whitewater Kayak
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Detailed Description:

Tasmanian adventurer Adrian Kiernan dies while kayaking in Nepal

By James Dunlevie, ABC News

Updated Sun at 7:17pm

Tasmanian kayak adventurer Adrian Kiernan has died during a white-water mishap in Nepal, with the worldwide kayaking community shocked at the loss of a "legend" of the sport.

Key points:

  • Humla Karnali is a particularly difficult white-water route in the Himalayas
  • Kiernan's kayak partner said "we were all having the time of our life" before the incident
  • DFAT confirmed it was providing consular assistance to "the family and friends of an Australian man who died in Nepal"

The 31-year-old was kayaking on the treacherous Humla Karnali — a 240-kilometre-long river in the Himalayan region of Nepal with stretches of white water renowned for its difficulty — when he got into trouble, according to friend and kayak partner Louis Bissonnette.

"As a lot of you heard by now, Adrian has passed yesterday November 15, 2018 around noon on the Humla Karnali," Mr Bissonnette wrote on Facebook.

"We were all having the time of our life until the river drastically decided to put an end to it.

"We will remember you as a humble and dedicated human being. A man who lived life to the fullest, through his love for travelling and discovering new places, sparked at a young age by his loving family, further pursued with his wonderful girlfriend, his kayak, and all the people he met and loved along the way.

"Adrian, brother, we will all miss you so much, but we shall stay strong as we know you would. Rest in peace you legend. Much love to all affected by this terrible event."

The exact circumstances of Kiernan's death are not known at this stage.

Earlier in November, Kiernan told his Facebook followers he was "in Surkhet [Nepal] now. Anyone want to drop into Humla with Louis Bissonnette and I?"

An experienced raft guide, coach and competitive kayaker, Kiernan was an Australian freestyle champion and had kayaked in a number of countries, including Russia, Kyrgyzstan, India, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru and New Zealand.

Kiernan's family have shared the tributes to him from friends across social media.

DFAT providing assistance to family

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade told the ABC it was "providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to the family and friends of an Australian man who died in Nepal". "Owing to our privacy obligations we will not provide further comment."

Friends and associates of Kiernan, who also ran a Tasmanian tour company operating trips down the Franklin River, expressed their shock and sorrow at news of his death, with fellow adventurers sharing stories of trips with him.

Shane Pennicuik said he "could not believe the terrible news we have woken up to".

"Such an awesome guy who will be greatly missed. Float on brother."

Cumec kayaking magazine posted a tribute, thanking Kiernan "for enriching the lives of so many and for what you gave back to our small paddling community in Australia and New Zealand".

"Here's to a good man, gone to soon."

South African kayaking entrepreneur Celliers Kruger, who sponsored Kiernan, said: "When I paddled some rivers with him in Canada, I was in awe of his calm demeanour in the hairiest conditions.

"I sponsored him for years, and he was one of those paddlers who always worked hard to make sure he deserves his sponsorship. He went beyond what was expected of him."

Mr Kruger said Kiernan "lived life to the fullest, and it always made me happy to hear of his latest conquest in some odd corner of the Earth".

"He leaves a huge hole in the larger kayaking community. Another friend lost to a river."

 

 

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