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Accident Description

The Wyoming Dept of transportation is fixing highway bridge. In doing so they created a rapid by pinching off half the river on a flatwater inner tube run. Drift boat flips; man dies. Ranger are pretty sure this was heart attack. A big man, over 300#. Nobody had Pfds. He was out of the current standing in the shallows where other party asked if he was okay. Said he was. Next glance he was face down in the water.

Official cause of death is drowning. Not clear whether the boat hit a rock above the bridge leaving them into a position where they hit the cofferdam, they hit the cofferdam  or if they went over in the rapid.

Boating accident on Snake River results in fatality; Jackson Hole, WY


JACKSON, WY — UPDATE: The Teton County Coroner’s Office confirmed the identity of the victim as George Erwin Roulhac, 69, of Greenville, Mississippi.

A man has died on the Snake River today. The cause of death is unknown at this time. Teton County Sheriff deputies say a boat carrying three boaters hit a rock pile just before the bridge near the KOA Campground, throwing them into a pillar under the bridge. The boat overturned, but at first, all passengers were accounted for. The victim, an older man, was seen near the shore and said he was fine. But when his companions looked back seconds later, he was out of sight.

The victim was pulled out of the river on the banks of the KOA Campground. He was unresponsive, and CPR resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful. A sheriff deputy in the area responded immediately, and Fire/EMS responded shortly after with multiple ambulances.

The other boaters were accounted for within a few minutes, said Fire/EMS Batallion Chief Mike Moyer. Teton County Search and Rescue was paged to conduct a search, but quickly called off when it was confirmed all boaters were accounted for.

A medical condition is suspected, but not confirmed.

Fire/EMS says the drift boat has been recovered. The other boaters who were on the drift boat are all OK.

A wave train under the bridge is becoming increasingly more dangerous as bridge construction causes it to grow in size and velocity. WYDOT advises river users to take extra caution on the stretch from South Park to Hoback.

David Rogers on FB: There was always a decent sized wave and obstruction on river left there. It has reportedly gotten bigger and from the video seems to be more of a wave train. The river immediately above and below the feature is flat and relatively slow moving. I really can't see how this wasn't a medical problem. 

As far as this being an inner tube section as Charlie said above, there is another rapid and a swirly section that is much more serious. Kings Wave by the Boy Scout camp gets quite large at higher water levels. Directly below Kings Wave is a section we used to call the Octopus when we were squirt boating, It's about 1/2 mile long and at high water is all big whirlpools and moving eddy lines. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to swim it in the spring even with a PFD and a dry suit. Even now at minimal flows the eddy lines in that section are quite strong and will suit a drift boat pretty good if you aren't good on the sticks. 

I am a fly fishing guide in the area and run that section and others on the Snake. We are required to use PFDs. People might think we aren't wearing them because most pros use CO2 charged PFDs that are not as hot in the sun and don't interfere with the casting motion.