Accident Database

Report ID# 798

  • Flush Drowning
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold Water
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • Inexperience
  • High Water

Accident Description

This same high water was seen in Ohio on March 16th when three kayakers decided to tackle the flooded Cuyahoga River Gorge, a class III+ run near Akron, Ohio. According to articles in the Akron Beacon-Journal, all three kayakers capsized within 100 yards of the put-in. The articles noted the use of life vests and helmets, and remarked on the absence of cold-water paddling gear.

One man swam to safety, but the others did not. The bodies of Richard Jensen, 55, and Woodrow Sexton, 56, were recovered after a park ranger saw a body and several kayaks floating downriver and called emergency responders.The water below the Ohio Edison Dam is very fast and pushy when the Cuyahoga runs over 1000 cfs. The paddlers' inexperience, evident from the lack of wetsuits in March weather, probably meant that they didn't understand the difficulty and the danger that they were facing.

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