On February 23, 1998 two men and a woman were canoeing on the Catawba River near Catawba River Park when their boat capsized, throwing all three into the icy water. PFD’s were carried, but not worn. Jason Radford, 21, was assisting one of his friends when he lost consciousness and disappeared under the surface. Rescue squads were called, and he was found floating just under the surface 100 yards downstream. His friends were taken to a hospital and treated for hypothermia.
SOURCE: McDowell News, Marion, NC
ANALYSIS: Although the canoe was overloaded and the trio was paddling in blue jeans and T-shirts rather than cold water protection, these were not the most significant errors. If the victim had been wearing a life vest he probably would have survived.
Also on February 22 Jason Radford, 22, capsized his canoe on the Catawba River near Marion, North Carolina, spilling himself and two friends into the river. He apparently was trying to help a friend reach shore when he collapsed and washed away. The other two men made it to shore; they were treated for hypothermia and released.