Accident Database

Report ID# 707

  • Equipment Trap
  • Swim into Strainer
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • Inexperience
  • High Water

Accident Description

The following two reports both center on two marginally experienced solo paddlers who were way out of their depth on high water rivers. On April 10th on Ontario's Grand River a strange scene unfolded. Kevin Suweski and John O'Leary forwarded material describing what happened. With the river flooding (It was running more than 18,000 cfs; a normal run is about 600 cfs) Samuel Gillis, 35, launched his kayak into the current and flipped on the eddyline. He was not wearing any cold water gear, and he had tied himself to the kayak with a PFD tow harness. He floated downriver until the harness became snagged in a tree. Firefighters responded, but could not reach him easily. By the time they got him to shore he was dead of hypothermia. CW

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!