Accident Database

Report ID# 718

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  • Flush Drowning
  • Swim into Rock or Sieve
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

A group of four experienced rafters had a tragic run on the South Fork Boise River on May 15, 2001. Their raft hit a rock and flipped in 35-degree water. Two rafters from Boise, Jim Bigelow, 49, and Molly O'Leary, 48, swam for shore quickly and were rescued by another raft an hour later. Their two companions, Robert Campbell, 50, and Amy Gerver, 41, did not make it to shore. Campbell's body was found later that day after a long search including 25 people on foot, with a light airplane, and Blackhawk helicopter, Gerver's body was found the following morning under a submerged log. It was extracted by National Guardsmen and floated out on a raft.

The rafters were wearing PFD's, helmets, and wetsuits. In 35-degree water, they would have had better chances had they been wearing drysuits.

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