Accident Database

Report ID# 836

  • Health Problem
  • Heart Attack / Heart Failure
  • Other

Accident Description

On July 5th there were two commercial outfitting fatalities involving guests who died unexpectedly after taking a seemingly survivable swim through a rapid. On the Lower Kern River, Richard Thurman, 63, complained of difficulty breathing after floating through a Class I-II riffle. He was unable to climb back into his raft or swim ashore; when two guides finally got him inside a raft he was no longer breathing.

Two river guides, one of whom is an EMT, and a pair of doctors who were on the trip started CPR. Paramedics responded quickly and took over the resuscitation attempt. Despite their efforts Mr. Thurman never regained consciousness. Total elapsed time was just 3 minutes from the first sign of trouble to unresponsiveness.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!