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Accident Description


A full story and firsthand accounts of this incident can be read in an award winning book titled “Anything Worth Doing” - the two men in the drift boat were legends in the central Idaho boating community

DESCRIPTION: The Salmon River in Idaho was running at a 20-year high of 96,000 cfs on June 9, 1996. The river was full of huge floating trees and driftwood, passing by in an impressive, non-stop parade. Three men, paddling a dory, were attempting to set a time-and-distance record on the river. Their boat swamped out near Vinegar Creek, throwing everyone into the water. The three men floated together for ten miles, unable to reach shore. One man, 50, who was the only one not wearing a wetsuit, was overcome by the 50 degree water and lost consciousness. His body was recovered by professional outfitters many miles downstream. The other two men eventually made it to shore.

SOURCE: rec.boats.paddle posting  

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.

 

The Salmon River in Idaho was running at a 20 year high of 96,000 cfs on Sunday, June 9th. The river was full of huge floating trees and driftwood, passing by in an impressive, non-stop floating parade. Three men, paddling a dory, were attempting to set a time-and-distance record on the river. Their boat swamped out near Vinegar Creek, throwing everyone into the water. The three men floated together for ten miles, unable to reach shore. One man, 50, lost consciousness. His body was recovered by professional outfitters many miles downstream. The other two men eventually made it to shore.