Mike Williams on FB: A rental got into trouble at Rivers
End. They hit Whale Rock, and a man fell out the back. He became trapped under
the raft and in the sieve at Snaggletooth Rock next to flatiron/the wall.
Both legs were in the sieve, which was surprising because it’s supposed to be a
pretty small opening. My friend was one of the first to get there. Arms hanging
over the top of the sieve and legs going into the sieve, head under the water.
He was hard to see unless you were looking for something. the raft was on top for
a moment, but then washed off. (Story confirmed by other guides in town)
Man's body recovered
after rafting accident on Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle
JONATHAN D. SILVER
AUG 31, 2019 3:39 PM
A man died Saturday
afternoon while whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River after he was
thrown from a raft and his foot became trapped under a rock, the operations
manager of Ohiopyle State Park said.
The Fayette County
coroner’s office was en route late Saturday afternoon to the remote location on
the Lower Youghiogheny between Ohiopyle and Connellsville, about 1½ miles
upstream from the Bruner Run take-out point.
The man, said to be
between 40 and 50 years old, was one of a group of eight family and friends who
had rented two rafts from White Water Adventurers, one of four outfitters in
Ohiopyle, said Ken Bisbee, Ohiopyle’s operations manager.He called the situation
an “extremely unfortunate” accident.
Saturday, August 31,
2019, at Ohiopyle State Park in Ohiopyle.
Pittsburgh-area man who
died in Ohiopyle rafting accident identified
Around 1 p.m., the
county 911 center contacted the park about a raft that had overturned at
River’s End Rapid, two rapids north of the notorious Dimple Rock Rapid, which
has been the site of numerous rafting deaths over the years, and about six
miles downstream from the town of Ohiopyle. The rapid is named River’s End
because, from a point upstream, it appears that there are large rocks almost
two stories high completely across the river from bank to bank.
Mr. Bisbee said there is
nothing inherently deadly about the River’s End Rapid. Rather, he said, it
appeared the man had fallen victim to a well-known potential danger among
whitewater rafters — getting thrown out of a raft and instinctively putting a
foot down to reach the river bottom.
Rafters are typically told
in safety briefings to never stand up if thrown in the water while going
through a rapid -- “keep your nose and toes out of the water,” Mr. Bisbee said,
citing a “nose and toes” mantra — precisely because a foot can become trapped.
“All of our rapids have
particular dangers to them. You just have to navigate through them, and people
pop out of their raft at various rapids throughout the length of the river. The
biggest thing we try to teach is: Keep your feet out, and ride through the
The force of the rapid,
even in water as shallow as the Youghiougheny River, which was running perhaps
two feet deep Saturday, can bowl someone over from behind and force them down
facefirst so they can’t breathe. The water level on the gauge below the falls
in Ohiopyle Saturday was 1.95 feet.
“You know how it is,
people panic and they try to stand up,” Mr. Bisbee said. “The force of the
moving water pushes you over, and you can’t stand up.”
That appears to be what
happened Saturday after all eight people in the group were thrown from two
rafts — four were in each, he said, adding that the victim was in the lead
The raft struck Whale
Head Rock, capsized and the victim got pushed in the turbulent water toward
Flat Iron Rock.
“One person in the raft
tried to stand up and got a foot entrapped and had been underwater for about 35
minutes, and he is deceased,” Mr. Bisbee said. “When you get a foot entrapment
like that, people underestimate the force of moving water.”
The body was recovered
around 2:30 p.m., Mr. Bisbee said. The man was wearing a life preserver.
Mr. Bisbee said the
death was the first in the state park since 2015 when a man climbed over an
observation deck railing to have his picture taken, slipped on black ice and
fell into the 20-foot Ohiopyle Falls below.
The last boating-related
death on the Youghiogheny was in 2009, according to Mr. Bisbee. Mr. Bisbee said crisis
counseling was made available to the victim’s friends and family who were in
Jonathan D. Silver:
firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1962 or on Twitter @jsilverpg. Staff writer
Andrew Goldstein contributed.
Mt. Lebanon man drowns in family outing at Ohiopyle
By JOE NAPSHA |
Monday, September 2, 2019
A Mt. Lebanon man drowned Saturday in a rafting accident
along the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle State Park in what was a weekend
outing for family and friends, the Fayette County coroner said Monday.
Peter Quigley, 46, of Pine Tree Road, was pinned underwater
when he fell out of a raft and his left ankle became caught in a rock in a
section of the Youghiogheny near River’s End.
There, the strong current is funneled between two large
rocks, said Coroner Dr. Phillip E. Reilly. The accident happened about 1 p.m.
and Quigley was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:28 p.m., Reilly said.
Quigley’s raft overturned when it was pushed up a smooth
rock, Reilly said. Ohiopyle State Park officials said there were four people in
the raft when it flipped. The others reached safety.
Quigley’s son attempted to save his father by holding him
above the water, Reilly said. “It is a hazardous area … and the hazard is magnified (by
the current). This is a tragic accident,” Reilly said.
The accident happened about six miles into what is a
typically a seven-mile rafting trip down what is known as the Lower
Youghiogheny River. Reilly said he was told by park officials that the water
level on the river Saturday was at a normal depth.
Family and friends had rented two rafts for the outing at
Ohiopyle. They had ropes with them during their trip, the coroner said. “This was a well-prepared trip,” Reilly said.
The accident was investigated by Ohiopyle State Park
officials and it will be reviewed to see what, if anything, might be done along
that section of the river, Reilly said. There is no “easily correctable hazard
there,” Reilly said.
The coroner, who is in his seventh term, said that his
office sometimes face situations where families of victims are surprised that
rafting can be dangerous along that stretch of the Youghiogheny River. They
mistake rafting along the Youghiogheny for riding in a raft at an amusement
park, Reilly said. “Some people think it is like ennywood or Disney World.
There are Class III and Class IV rapids,” Reilly said.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can
contact Joe at 724-836-5252, email@example.com or via Twitter .