Accident Database

Report ID# 488

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

On June 21, 1998 Allen Ogden, 66, drowned at Seidel’s Suckhole roughly ten miles north of Salida, CO . His raft dump-trucked in the hole, throwing everyone into the river. Although the level was running low, roughly 1300 cfs, the river was still fast and powerful. The other five people in his raft managed to swim to shore, but Mr. Ogden was found floating unconscious about 300 yards below. CPR was initiated, and Mr. Ogdon was boated downstream a half mile to the nearest vehicle access. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.






SOURCE: Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area; Roger Lynn, CWWA Safety Chair

Subject: Death at Seidel's Suckhole, Arkansas River, CO (commercial) Date: Monday, June 22, 1998 2:32 PM The following is an AHRA Press Release June 21, 1998 On June 21, 1998, at approximately 1:30 P.M., there was a commercial boating accident on the Arkansas River, approximately 10 miles north of Salida in a rapid called Seidel's Suckhole. The first boat in a three-boat trip, a paddle boat, "dump trucked" in the rapid, spilling everyone out of the boat. The guide and all passengers but one made it safely to shore. The passenger, a 67 year old male, was caught in the current and carried downriver about 350 yards, before being brought to shore by the second boat on the trip. CPR was begun immediately. The victim was carried downriver by raft another half mile while CPR was being conducted, to the nearest vehicle access. He was transported from there to Heart of the Rockies Medical Center by Chaffee County EMS in Salida where he was pronounced dead. The victim, whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was in Colorado visiting relatives. The river was flowing 1,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) at the time of the accident. For further information: contact the Arkansas Headwater Recreation Area at (719) 539-7289, or the Chaffee County Sheriff's Office at (719) 539-2814. Subject: Boater, 66, dies in raft accident on Arkansas River Date: Tuesday, June 23, 1998 10:39 AM <<...>> Boater, 66, dies in raft accident on Arkansas River Six others on family outing also dumped into water, swim to safety By Guy Kelly Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer A 66-year-old man died Sunday after falling from a raft and being swept downstream, the Arkansas River's first rafting fatality of the season. Allen Ogdon of Cheney, Wash., and six others on a family outing were thrown from a raft in Seidel's Suckhole, 10 miles north of Salida. Stewart Pappenfort, Colorado State Parks river supervisor, said the others on the raft swam to safety. Pappenfort said the river was flowing at about a third of its usual flow. "That's one of the most difficult rapids, and it's fairly notorious for ejecting people into the water," Pappenfort said. Ogdon was carried about 350 yards before he was retrieved by a second raft. Ogdon was taken to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy was conducted Monday. The boat was in Seidel's Suckhole when it "dump trucked"-standing up on its side and spilling passengers, but not capsizing, Pappenfort said. The raft trip was conducted by Adventure Co. of Summit County. Pappenfort said the company is in good standing with the required license and permit. The Arkansas is one of the state's premier whitewater rivers, drawing thousands of rafters, floaters, paddlers and kayakers every year. The river twists and swirls to create miles of rapids-Widowmaker, Raft Ripper and Siedel's Suckhole, to name a few. In 1996, four died on the Arkansas in the month of June. Seidel's Suckhole is a class IV rapid, with long waves and unavoidable obstacles. Twin Falls is a Class III rapid. A Class I run is considered flatwater, with Class VI "being at risk of life and limb." Roger W. Lynn Safety Chair Colorado White Water Association (CWWA) Subject: More info on Seidel's accident Date: Monday, June 22, 1998 4:29 PM More info on the accident yesterday: Victim was a 67 year old male named Allen Ogden from Washington State. He was a non swimmer and it looks like a drowning although an autopsy has not yet been done but one is planned. His family was with him on the trip. Victim was boating with The Adventure Company out of Summit County. Victim was equipped with a wetsuit, helmet and pfd. The group had stopped and scouted the drop and had watched another group run through without problems. The other group had continued downstream and no safety was set up below the drop. The first boat dump trucked and the victim was not recovered until after Twin Falls Rapid by the second boat in the group. I will pass along more info as it becomes available. Roger W. LynnAllen Ogdon, 66, drowned in "Seidel's Suckhole" near Salida on the Arkansas River June 21st after his raft "dump-trucked", standing on its side and spilling everyone into the river. All others swam to safety. The river was running low; roughly 1300 cfs. After recovery, CPR was initiated and Ogdon was boated downstream a half mile to the nearest vehicle access.

ANALYSIS: (Walbridge) The Arkansas has a long history of flush-drowning  commercial guests. It’s continuous, and rescue is quite difficult. A life vest cannot guarantee your safety. It is possible that the inhalation of cold water causes a laringospasm, blocking the airway. Anyone who is running the Arkansas should be prepared for a strenuous swim.



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