Accident Database

Report ID# 539

  • Pinned in Boat against Rock or Sieve
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

DESCRIPTION:  the Lower Toulumne is a classic Class IV run in the California Sierras. At 8000 cfs, a high flow, the river is very fast with big waves and holes. The victim, Will Hagood, was a 15-year veteran paddler from Easley, SC and Salt Lake City, UT. On June 1, 1999 he was with a small group of expert paddlers in playboats. It was a beautiful day and everyone was doing well.

Haygood was killed after he lost his line at Clavey Falls and became pinned on a small rock in violent current. After 10-15 minutes of pounding, his PFD, sprayskirt, and the pillars from his boat floated out. His body was recovered two miles downriver from where the incident occurred. The group paddled out and notified authorities.

SOURCE: Doug Thompson, Chris Bell, Jeff McIntyre, Mark Jacobson, all posting to


Subject: Re: death in California info?

From: McIntyre, Jeff

Date: Fri, May 28,>

Here are the the details as I'm aware of them. I have not spoken with the family and want to be respectful so I'll be brief in my comments. Will Hagood of Salt Lake City, UT (and formerly of Easley, SC - my hometown) was killed after being swept into a hole on the Tuolumne River in California. His body has been recovered, two miles downriver from where the incident occured. At this time, I don't have any more details of what happened. He is survived by his sister, Ginger, and parents. My condolescences to family and friends in Utah and South Carolina. Will is someone that will be>>

Subject: Re: death in California info?>

From: Mike>

Date: Fri, May 28,>>

A friend of mine was on the trip, the incident happened at Clavey Falls on the main (Lowwer) Toulumne not the Cherry creek section. While not as difficult as the upper at folws over 5,000 it gets very LARGE with huge holes and standing waves. They were in play boats (Will was in an RPM) having a blast! My friend said it was the most incredible, beautiful, best day on the river ever.>>>>

Will missed the move at Clavey and Pinned in a "spur". It was sometime before his equiptment washed out. I believe his body didn't wash out untill the following day. It was now the worst day on the river ever! If it's any consolation, Will was having a great day befor his untimely death. These are the "scetchy" but, first hand details I have so far. My sincere condolances to all. I don't know what happens to a "soul" but, I hope there is a better place for all those dear to us that have passed. Be safe. Jake>>>>

On June 1 Wil Haygood, a well-known Southern boater who had relocated to Salt Lake City, was killed on California's Lower Tuolumne River. The "T" was running high at 8,000 cfs/ This is big water, but not excessive for a strong party. Haygood missed his line at Clavey Falls, the only Class V drop on the river, and pinned frightfully against a narrow "flake" of rock. I've had reports of several other, similar pins in Clavey over the years. After 15 minutes his PFD, skirt, and the pillars from his boat started washing out. His body remained hidden. After a thorough search the group paddled out and notified authorities. Haygood's body was recovered the next day, over two miles downstream.

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