Accident Database

Report ID# 721

  • Flush Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

The National Park Service later reported that George Zeiter drowned on Alaska's Charley River on June 8th. Zeiter, 41, was part of a group of six men in 2 canoes and 2 inflatable kayaks that ran a long set of heavy rapids with large standing waves. Three of the four boats flipped, putting five people into the water. All but Zeiter made it safely to shore; he was last seen floating passively downstream. In this case, the presence of a backup boat made no difference because only one person was available for rescue and he was probably fully engaged with the river. The group was stranded until June 11th, when the survivors were able to catch the attention of a passing aircraft with a signal mirror. The body was recovered a mile downriver, and all signs point to flush-drowning resulting from high, cold water.


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