Accident Database

Report ID# 599

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

The Arkansas is one of the greatest whitewater rivers in the country, containing many miles of outstanding rapids. Early in the afternoon of June 6, 1999 a 53 year-old man was in a raft that flipped in a Class IV drop called Three Rocks Rapid. Flow was high, at 3500 cfs. Six of the seven paddlers were able to swim to shore, but he did not. River guides in other boats recovered him quickly and began CPR. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

SOURCE: Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

ANALYSIS: (Walbridge) Older people are more vulnerable during cold water swims than younger folks, and this must be taken into account when planning trips.


On June 26th a paddle raft flipped in Three Rocks Rapid on the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River, spilling all seven paddlers into the river. The river was running at a high 3500 cfs, and the victim, 53 year old man, was unable to reach shore. Guides and rangers pulled him in and attempted CPR, but were unable to revive him.




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