Accident Database

Report ID# 44238

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

Paddlers pulled into poutflow area of Red Rock Dam. Very turbulent!


Both kayakers were experienced river and lake kayakers.  Both were in their sea kayaks. 


Kayaker who survived: Kevin Beatty

experienced sea kayaker (Red Rock Iowa, North Shore and Apostle Islands Lake Superior, Tybee Island Georgia, Mississippi River, Voyaguers National Park)

American Canoe Association Level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring Coastal Kayak Instructor

paddling a sea kayak - probably a Current Designs Gulfstream

regular paddler on Lake Red Rock and the Des Moines River

wearing his dry suit and pfd (visible in incident photo)


Kayaker who died: Tim Chicoine

expereinced sea kayaker (Red Rock Iowa, Lake Yellowstone, Lake Superior, Glacier Bay, Mississippi River, Missouri River)

American Canoe Association Level 2 Essentials of Kayak Touring Coastal Kayak Instructor

regular paddler on Lake Red Rock and the Des Moines River


Phil Coleman:  Many people have drowned in recirculating eddies. This was the case here. The victim was hemmed in by a high concrete wall, the base of the spillway, the recycle of the water coming over the spillway, and a huge boil that would send him back against the wall to repeat the cycle.


One Kayaker Killed; Another Saved in Capsizing Accident near Red Rock Dam


Names Released of Two Individuals Involved in Kayak Incident at Red Rock


Posted: Sunday, January 6th, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Author: 92.1 KRLS News


The names of the individuals involved in the kayak incident Saturday at the Red Rock Dam have been released. Timothy Chicoine, age 61, from Des Moines was pronounced deceased at the Pella Regional Health Center. Kevin Beatty, age 56, from Tracy was treated and released from Pella Regional.


Des Moines Fisherman Dustin Shepard was with Dan Dumerhoff and told KRLS News the pair of kayakers got too close to the outflow area of the Des Moines River. “We saw the kayaks were up by the danger sign, and one of them got sucked in and the other one followed him in and got sucked in too,” he said.


One was brought ashore by the fishermen; the other was pulled in by the Pella Fire Department and other rescue personnel. The incident occurred at approximately 11 a.m. Saturday and several agencies responded for reports of two capsized kayaks.


Sheriff Jason Sandholdt said, “If it wasn’t for the effort of multiple individuals and agencies both individuals could have lost their lives this morning. Workers from Ames Construction, area fisherman, firemen from Knoxville Rural and Knoxville City, Pella Ambulance and Deputies threw rescue lines to the individual that was still fighting to hold on to the capsized kayaks. They were able to get him pulled out of the deadly current, where members of the Pella Fire Department could get a hold of him and transport him to a waiting Pella Ambulance.”


“The Corp of Engineers did a great job of closing the gates of the dam to reduce the outflow allowing us to work. We are thankful we were able to get one of the individuals out of the deadly situation, but nothing will ease the pain of losing the other individual.”


Pella Rural Fire, Pella Ambulance, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Knoxville

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