Date
Victim
Victim Age
River
Section
Location
Gage
Water Level
Difficulty
Cause
Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
Factors Code(s)
Experienced/Inexperienced
Private/Commercial
Boat Type
Group Info
Other Victim Names
Status

Accident Description


 On June 2nd, the Arkansas River in Colorado was running a moderate 1,350 cfs. A small raft capsized in rapid #5, throwing two men and an 8 year-old girl into the water. The girl and one man got to shore quickly; the girl's father, George Cochetas, 44, swam over two miles and was unconscious when he was picked up by other boaters downstream. CPR was initiated, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

DESCRIPTION: On June 2, 1996 the Arkansas dropped to a more moderate 1,350 cfs. A small private raft capsized in rapid #5, throwing two men and 8 year-old girl into the water. The girl and one man got to shore quickly; the girl's father, George Cochetas, 44, swam for over two miles he was unconscious when he was picked up by other boaters downstream. CPR was initiated, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

ANALYSIS: (Walbridge) Flush-drowning, the term used to describe accidents in which a paddler drowns while swimming a long distance in rapids in a PFD, is a recurring problem in river rafting accidents. It can effect parties of any skill level. When a raft flips, many people are thrown into the water. They often become separated, making recovery difficult. Some rafters, both commercial and private, travel in one-boat trips, so there is no one around to pick up swimmers. Unusually high water contributed to most of the incidents described above.