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
[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.
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
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.
Michael P.; Myers, Thomas M. (2001). Over The Edge: Death in
Gand Canyon (both First and Revised ed.). Puma Press.
pp. 173–174. ISBN .
Richard. Woman Of The River: Georgie White Clark, Whitewater
Pioneer. University Press of Colorado, 2013.