Accident Database

Report ID# 692

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  • Health Problem
  • Asthma Attack
  • Other

Accident Description

On October 15th a man drowned after falling out of a raft on West Virginias Gauley River. It was the last trip of the last day of the season. He and his crew had been surfing a hole near the takeout with one of the companys most experienced guides. Pulled back aboard almost instantly, he was gagging and trying to reach an inhaler he carried. The crew rushed him to shore, but resuscitation efforts were ineffective.

It turned out that this man had a history of asthma, a fact that was not shared with his guide. This is the second death on the Gauley that involved asthmatics in the past few years, and in both cases they were rescued after short swims only to succumb to breathing problems. Clearly something about asthma that makes swimming in whitewater treacherous, and those suffering from it should thing twice before running whitewater. As a minimum, guests need to notify their guide of any medical condition which might effect their ability to participate.

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