Accident Database

Report ID# 760

  • Equipment Trap
  • Does not Apply
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

Richie ran the high line at the narrows/ Finished the boof and was home free, then was kicked right, the pour over from the drop caught just enough of his stern, as it did to most other boaters and flipped against the wall.After a few missed roll attemps, Rich tried to exit his boat, and was moving his hands above his boat as if to signal that he needed help. He was making the a jerking motion as if he was kicking free and pushing out of the boat, and this happened two different times.

I thought he was free but noticed he hadn't come up. Two others in our group paddled out to him to right him up and he was unconscience. Witnessing this tragic event and knowing Rich, I have come to this conclusion. I beleive that he was unable to get to his cord to exit. He was wearing neoprene gloves, for protection against the rocks.  This may have compounded the issue.  I as well as other's that know Rich and witnessed the event, believe that his cord was tucked under the lip of his boat and his sprayskirt preventing him from grabbing his loop. He was wearing a snapdragon sprayskirt which was very tight.

After an unsuccesful bow rescue by two fantastic boaters rich washed over he first big drop unconscience in his boat.The force from that rapid threw him free with the skirt still attatched to the boat, suggesting that he may have came out through the tunnel.Tim - I was one of two people who pulled Rich's boat out below the two 10+ foot waterfalls on the rapid below the narrows. I was out of my boat at the time getting ready to scout when a boater who was trying to rescue him was yelling to the group on the side that he needed help. Rich's boat (with him still in it fell into a hole about the two drops) as did his potential rescuer and the rescuer bailed out swimming to the ledge just above the drops.

Being out of the boat I ran down the trail to try and catch up with it if the boat flushed and it did. Myself and another paddler whose name I don't know waded in to where the boat was lodged at the time unsure as to whether or not his body was still in the boat. When we got to the boat we realized it was empty, but thespray skirt was still intact and the security loop was stuck under the skirt. We towed the boat in and then moved downstream, where by this time his body had been pulled out and CPR-etc began.

It was an extremely unfortunate accident, but I just wanted to pass along that further information. My condolences to Rich's friends and family.

Colleen O'Donnell

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