Accident Database

Report ID# 697

  • PFD Fell Off
  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

 On March 31st Nancy Roberts, 38, drowned when her sit-on top kayak washed into a strainer on the South Fork, a tributary of the Trinity River in Northern California. Slim Ray reported that she and her partner were practicing search procedures with the Willow Creek Volunteer Fire Department when they both hit a logjam in Class III water. Her partner fought his way through the obstacle in time to see Roberts hit the pile of wood and fall off her boat. He retrieved the kayak, but could not find her.

Ten minutes later her PFD popped to the surface, zipped and fastened. Her partner ran out of the canyon to a call box and dialed 911. Firefighters searched the area without success. The next day, after the water level had dropped 1 feet, a helicopter spotted her body beneath the water. A bulldozer reopened an existing road to the site, and a backhoe was used to dismantle the strainer. When the last log was pulled out, Robert's body floated to the surface with her kayak paddle wrapped completely around her. CW

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