Date
Victim
Victim Age
River
Section
Location
Water Level
Difficulty
Cause Code(s)
Injury Type(s)
Factors Code(s)
Private/Commercial
Boat Type
Status

Accident Description


KAYAKER WHO DROWNED IN SALUDA RIVER

WAS WEARING A LIFE JACKET, FIRE OFFICIAL SAYS 

BY TEDDY KULMALA, THE STATE

APRIL 30, 2019 03:51 PM, UPDATED APRIL 30, 2019 

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC When two kayakers became distressed Saturday on the Saluda River, firefighters were at the river training for swift-water rescues. 

Two Columbia Fire Department teams were at the Saluda River for re-certification in swift-water rescue, and were about to take a break just before noon Saturday, department spokesman Mike DeSumma said. 

“They saw a person in distress floating down the river and an empty kayak,” DeSumma said. The firefighters leaped into action and rescued the swimmer, who was able to get to a rock, DeSumma said. Then he told firefighters that his friend also was in a kayak but fell out and ended up in the water. 

Firefighters looked upstream and spotted a red life jacket, which was on 27-year-old Gregory Hinson Jr., DeSumma said. They pulled Hinson from the water and into the boat and began performing CPR on him the entire way to Prisma Health Richland Hospital. Hinson died at 7:20 p.m. from asphyxiation due to drowning, the Richland County Coroner’s Office said. 

It’s still unclear what caused Hinson and his friend to go into distress on the river, and if they were in one kayak or separate boats, DeSumma said.