Accident Database

Report ID# 805

  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • Inadequate Equipment
  • High Water

Accident Description

On May 25th the water in the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho was running 6.5’ (8800 cfs), which is extremely high. A tree had fallen across Marsh Creek, a high-water tributary to the Middle Fork commonly used for early season access. This would be the scene of the first of two fatalities reported by Vince Thompson’s Idaho Whitewater Page. First Matt Bartley, a veteran professional guide, was oar-boating when he hit his head on the overhanging log. The impact knocked him out of his raft and he was never seen again. Because he was not wearing his PFD or helmet, a successful rescue was unlikely.

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