Accident Database

Report ID# 719

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • Solo Paddling
  • High Water

Accident Description

In three other instances, long swims in cold water resulted in flush-drownings. Two were all one-boat trips, so they had no back-up. On the morning of May 28th a lone four-man raft flipped on the Pilar section of New Mexico's Rio Grande river at high water (2500 cfs). Abe Jacobson, who spoke to raft outfitters and BLM personnel, said that the raft hit a large hole mid-river at "The Eye Of The Needle". The hole is not very retentive and can be easily avoided on either side. All four occupants went swimming. A commercial raft picked up two stranded swimmers, then paddled downriver where they found a third swimmer giving CPR to a fourth. Margaret Coyne, 57, swam the entire length of "The Narrows" and flush-drowned. Guides continued CPR until EMTs made their way down from the highway above. Despite these intense efforts the woman did not recover.


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