Accident Database

Report ID# 785

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Cold Water
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

House Rock is the biggest rapid on Montana's Gallatin River, a Class III-IV roadside run. It has caused many problems over the years. According to a story in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Robert Scholer, 55, was one of six people in a commercial raft that flipped here on June 27th Mr. Scholer, who weighed 330 pounds, inhaled some water and lost consciousness. A woman guide was dragging him slowly to shore when two passing kayakers, Bob McDonough and Ed Hake, spotted them from the road. They ran down into the water, pulled Scholer ashore, and began CPR.

On June 27, 2002, 55-year-old Robert Scholer was on a commercial rafting trip on the Gallatin River in Montana. He and his wife were on vacation from New Jersey. They had flown in to Salt Lake City and driven a rental car to Yellowstone National Park.

At House Rock Rapid, their raft flipped. House Rock is the beginning of the "Mad Mile," a long section of continuous whitewater. Reports indicate that Scholer swallowed water immediately. Apparently a female employee of the rafting company, Montana Whitewater Inc. of Bozeman, floated with Scholer and tried to help him. However, the 330-lb. man was too heavy for her efforts.

"Everybody was doing everything right. The guide had experience, about 10 years," said Gallatin County deputy coroner Roger Layton.

Two years later, Scholer's widow filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the rafting company. The damages sought were unspecified.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!