Accident Database

Report ID# 49855

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

There was a fatal rafting accident on the Upper Yough on May 17. The river was running at 2.5 feet, making the  rapids tougher than usual.  A multi-boat commercial trip was having a good run until a raft dumped at Little Niagara, a powerful ledge below Tommy's Hole, putting three people into the water.

The group mobilized to pick up swimmers, and all but one were recovered quickly. Guides made several attempts to help an older lady as she washed downstream into Zinger and Trap Run Rapids. She had a long, punishing swim, taking several hard rock hits and having significant downtime. She was conscious and struggling almost to the end. Initially she had hold of the raft, but let go. A safety boater attempted a rescue, but she grabbed hold of the boat at the cockpit, flipping the boat and washing underneath it. The safety boater swam as a result. Another guide picked up a swimmer, then chased after the victim, running his boat up on rocks, and throwingf a rope. He was on target, but she did not grab hold. 

Several private kayakers saw what was happening and were able to get her ashore. A strong CPR team lead by 2 paramedics performed an hour of high quality CPR, rotating positions every few minutes. Initially her color returned, but she did not survive.

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