The Tewksbury section of the Jacques Cartier River is a magnificent Class IV run near Quebec City in Canada. AW member Skip Morris reports that a professional guide died in Class IV Blueberry Island Rapid on July 22nd. He was thrown from his raft while running a steep chute on the left, towards the bottom. He popped right up afterwards, and appeared to be fine, but he never rejoined the group below.
Rescuers using a tethered raft and a long pole thoroughly searched the riverbed. The guide was found in the pool way below the rapid. Rope had escaped from his waist-belt throw bag and become snagged on a rock, holding him under water. The bag did not have a conventional quick release buckle (with a flap and a ball), but used a side-release buckle similar to that used on many backpack waist bands. Many people feel that this sort of buckle is difficult to find and operate in an emergency. Users of this type of throwbag need to recognize the danger and take appropriate steps.