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Experienced/Inexperienced
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Accident Description


On January 24, 1998 the Little River Canyon in Northern Alabama claimed its second kayaker in less than a month. The accident occurred at Road Block Rapid on the Class IV-V “Upper Two’s” section. The river level was 7 inches, which is considered optimum. Dale Adams was making his sixth run of the Canyon this year with five other boaters.

At Road Block rapid, a hole is created by a 6 foot high, v-shaped drop. Most paddlers boof the “V” to the right; Adams missed his line and dropped into the center of the hole with little momentum. Here he was caught, thrashed, and forced to swim. One of the group got out and threw a rope several times. The hole recirculated him for a full minute, mostly under water, before releasing him unconscious.

The next rapid, Humpty Dumpty, was just downstream. One member of his party exited his boat, grabbed hold of Dale, swam the rapid with him, then pulled him to shore. CPR was performed, and a runner was sent to get help. The Fort Payne Rescue Squad arrived in about an hour, and his body was evacuated by helicopter some time later.

SOURCE: NPS Morning Report; Email from Dane White; rec.boats.paddle postings

ANALYSIS: (Walbridge)

1.The consequences of being off-route in difficult whitewater can be very severe, and this must be kept in mind by those attempting rapids of this nature.

2. Rescuing an unconscious swimmer in whitewater is extremely difficult, and it took considerable courage to make that swimming rescue.

 

Goodbye to a Friend With regrets, I'm reporting the death of a paddling friend. Dale Adams, Hoover, Alabama, died Saturday 24 January 1998 on the Little River Canyon (LRC).

Dale had run LRC about six times this year and was an experienced paddler. The river was about 7" on the bridge. Our group of six ran the Suicide Section without problems. Dale died on the Upper-two at Roadblock. This is a six foot V-shaped drop. The line is to boof off the far right. The far left has a hole caused by water dropping from both sides of the V. Nathan Costerisan and I ran the drop. Dale came over the drop in the center with little momentum. He was stopped. Nathan got out with a rope. Dale paddled away from the hole at least three times. The last time he flipped. The rope was throw at least twice, but Dale never surfaced. He washed out after a minute, floating face down.

We tried to pull him to shore before Humpty Dumpty. John Reeves came out of his boat, held onto Dale through the rapid, and pulled him to shore. CPR was performed by Terry Howell for about an hour until the Fort Payne Fire and Rescue Squad arrived. They worked on Dale for an hour. At 1:40, the hospital advised the rescue squad to discontinue their efforts. This is not suppose to happen. It's not suppose to happen this way or to someone you care about. A life was taken before we were ready. Dale was a husband, father, grandfather, school teacher, and fellow paddler. He will be missed by all. Pray for his family. Goodbye Friend. Dane White

On January 24th the Little River Canyon in Northern Alabama claimed its second victim in a month. A posting by Dane White reported that kayaker Dale Adams, a regular visitor to the Little River Canyon, was running the upper section when he dropped into the hole at the base of Road Block rapid. Here he was caught, thrashed, and forced to swim. The hole recirculated him for several minutes before releasing him unconscious. Despite the efforts of his group he was washed through the next rapid, Humpty Dumpty. One member of his party exited his boat, grabbed hold of Dale, swam the rapid with him, then pulled him to shore. CPR was performed for an hour until the Fort Payne Rescue Squad arrived; his body was evacuated by helicopter some time later.

The above was published by the River Safety Task Force


Dane's Rec.Boats.Paddle posting read as follows:

Goodbye to a Friend

With regrets, I'm reporting the death of a paddling friend. Dale Adams, Hoover, Alabama, died Saturday 24 January 1998 on the Little River Canyon (LRC). Dale had run LRC about six times this year and was an experienced paddler. The river was about 7" on the bridge. Our group of six ran the Suicide Section without problems. Dale died on the Upper-two at Roadblock. This is a six foot V-shaped drop. The line is to boof off the far right. The far left has a hole caused by water dropping from both sides of the V. Nathan Costerisan and I ran the drop. Dale came over the drop in the center with little momentum. He was stopped. Nathan got out with a rope. Dale paddled away from the hole at least three times. The last time he flipped. The rope was throw at least twice, but Dale never surfaced. He washed out after a minute, floating face down. We tried to pull him to shore before Humpty Dumpty. John Reeves came out of his boat, held onto Dale through the rapid, and pulled him to shore. CPR was performed by Terry Howell for about an hour until the Fort Payne Fire and Rescue Squad arrived. They worked on Dale for an hour. At 1:40, the hospital advised the rescue squad to discontinue their efforts.

This is not suppose to happen. It's not suppose to happen this way or to someone you care about. A life was taken before we were ready.

Dale was a husband, father, grandfather, school teacher, and fellow paddler. He will be missed by all. Pray for his family.

Goodbye Friend.

Dane White