Accident Database

Report ID# 711

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • High Water
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • Inexperience
  • Solo Paddling

Accident Description

April 22nd was a warm spring day in New Hampshire, with temperatures rising into the mid-80's. The Contoocook River was flowing at near-flood levels when Glen Greenhalgh, 50, and his 17 year old son arrived at the Ramsdell Road Bridge just outside Henniker, NH. The Greenlalghs had lived in town for years, had never run the river, and now planned to paddle the class II section just upstream. They had life vests, no wetsuits, and a lake canoe with a keel and low freeboard.

He discussed the run briefly with Tom McIntyre, a local paddler who was very familiar with the river. Greenhalgh had run whitewater before, in Northern Maine. Although he had talked about paddling along with McIntyre, he and his son headed off downriver ahead of everyone. According to local paddler Roger Belson, witnesses said that the canoe flipped just above a wing dam in Class II+ water near the end of the run. The son made it to shore, but his father washed into the hydraulic behind the "wing",, recirculated for about five minutes, then floated downstream unconscious. Firefighters were called, and after a quick search they located and recovered his body a half mile downstream.


Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!