Accident Database

Report ID# 50210

  • Flush Drowning
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

From Wikipedia:

On August 25, 1984, river guide John Davenport, watched as Georgie intentionally launched her boat into a dangerous position into Lava Falls Rapid (River Mile 179.4), and reported

...She [Georgie] was pretty far left in her entry. It looked like she was going to run left. But then I saw her stand up and look toward the Ledge Hole. As soon as she saw she was going to miss it, she fired up her motor and powered over to the center of the river. She was too late to reach the Ledge Hole and also straighten out. So she entered the Ledge Hole at a 45-degree angle. It was the worst example of gross incompetence I have ever seen.[5]

Customer Norine Abrams died as a result of these actions.

From "Woman Of The River: Georgie White Clark, Whitewater Pioneer"

In August 1984 Ray and Norine "Nori" Abrams embarked with Georgie for a trip through the Grand Canyon. This was Ray's sixth trip with Georgie and Nori's second. Ray was almost like a boatman- he enjoyed helping in every way he could. They were a fun couple, both heavy set, but Nori more so.


As usual, Georgie did not stop to scout the rapid but plowed right down the middle. As they entered the first drop, Georgie turned off the motor and crouched down in the motor well holding onto a safety line. The raft plunged directly into the "ledge hole," with the bow of the boat facing down river, not sideways as was practiced by the smaller triple rigs. As the boat hit the hole, it was momentarily stopped, and swung so that the bow was facing the left bank. At this point the pontoon on the left side was tucked under and a wave swept over it, washing four or five people into the river.


Ray Abrams said he was under water approximately twenty to thirty seconds. After surfacing, he got hold of a safety line on the pontoon with his left hand, grabbed his wife with his right arm and supported her with his right leg under her body while yelling, “Hang on, hang on.” His wife was conscious and gasping for breath as they continued down through the rapid for another thirty or forty seconds towards a black cliff on the left side. In the meantime Couce and two other passengers were trying their very best, without success, to get Nori back on board. The major problem was her weight. Ray Abrams helped his wife stay next to the boat, but she was still gasping for air as they entered the next rapid, Lower Lava. As they approached the cliff, Nori was sucked away from Ray into a whirlpool. Ray, said, “We were both sucked under. I lost hold of the boat and my wife, and when I came back up she was gone.”


In a few minutes Nori was spotted floating face up about sixty or seventy yards away toward the center of the river. Georgie was trying to get back as close to her as possible, but the big boat would not turn easily. Still, Georgie was soon able to maneuver into the area close to Nori. When the boat got within about thirty feet of her, Couce and Fromme dove in and got to her. With Georgie’s help the two soon brought her alongside the raft. It was impossible to get her onto the boat, so they held onto both her and the boat. Fromme said, “I kept talking to her trying to get her to help herself, thereby helping us in our efforts. Needless to say, I was not aware all this time that she was already gone.” Georgie picked the first sand beach she could find, and finally got Nori on shore. Several passengers took Abrams off the boat and over to one side as CPR was begun by Couce, nurses Nancy Dawson and Gwen Heaton, and Bill Estes, a doctor of internal medicine in his third year of residency. Abrams was restrained at first from going closer and then decided to stay where he was, occasionally consoled by Gwen Heaton, while the four took turns working on Nori.


  2. Ghiglieri, Michael P.; Myers, Thomas M. (2001). Over The Edge: Death in Gand Canyon (both First and Revised ed.). Puma Press. pp. 173–174. ISBN .

  3. Westwood, Richard. Woman Of The River: Georgie White Clark, Whitewater Pioneer. University Press of Colorado, 2013.


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