Accident Database

Report ID# 517

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Obtained from a list server

Klamath River (CA) Received a phone call Friday night from an Vinnie McNeil in northern California. She just thought that people should know that the water down there, (the Klamath River below Happy Camp), is running high right now and people should take the necessary precautions. A 25 year old male was with a guided group Thursday, June 18 when the group stopped at Jump Off Rock below Happy Camp. I'm told the rock is a favorite summer dive/swim rock under 'normal' water conditions. When the young man came up after jumping off the rock, he started to swim against the current. The guides shouted for him to go downstream and they would catch him. The guides lost sight of the man, and he had not been found as of Friday.

California, which has experienced both a heavy snowpack and a cool spring, is in for a prolonged period of extremely high water. Already eleven rafting fatalities have been reported; two involved a mother and child on an air mattress, but the rest are for real! Three occurred within a few days of each other on the South Fork of the American near Lotus, California. A popular Class III+ summer run at 1200-1600 cfs, at 6,000-8,000 cfs the river becomes very continuous and turbulent. At this point it should be considered heavy class IV-IV+. Most of this information was reported by AW Director and Friends of the River conservationist Richard Penny.

On June 18 a guest on a commercial raft trip drowned after leaping off "Jump Off Rock" on the Klamath River near Happy Camp. He was swept downstream, and guides lost sight of him. The body has not been recovered.

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