Accident Database

Report ID# 54

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

A 63 year-old kayaker drowned after flipping and swimming in Mishawaka Rapid, the hardest drop on the "Bridges" section of the Poudre. After recirculating in a hole/ eddy combination at the base of the drop he became helpless. His companions gave chase, but were unable to rescue him in the fast, eddyless Class III-IV rapids below. He was eventually rescued by commercial rafters from Boulder Outdoor Center. CPR was begun immediately, and a heartbeat was restored. He was transferred to paramedics and life-flighted  to Boulder, where he died that evening.

SOURCE: Eric Bader, Boulder Outdoor School

Anyalysis: Helping an unconscious or helpless person in whitewater is very difficult. It usually has to be a swimming rescue, and that can be pretty dangerous for the rescuer. The raft was clearly the best rescue boat available. The man was not wearing a wetsuit; only polypropylene and a paddle jacket. This probably contributed to his helplessness.

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