Accident Database

Report ID# 838

  • Health Problem
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

That same day there was a similar accident on the Lower Youghiogheny River in Western Pennsylvania. Water levels were modest, 2 feet at Ohiopyle, when Andrew Deardon, 46, took a guide-assisted trip down the river with his church group. He was thrown into the water after his raft flipped at the top of Class III+ Dimple Rapid.

At first the situation seemed routine according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. All four people in the raft surfaced near the boat and grabbed hold of the perimeter lines. But Mr. Deardon, who at 5’11 and 400 pounds was a very large man, let go of the raft a short distance below. He was quickly picked up by a safety kayaker, but he was clearly in distress and let go of this boat, too.

By the time guides hauled him into their raft at the bottom of Swimmer’s Rapid he was not breathing. They started CPR at once. Park rangers and EMS personnel arrived quickly via the riverside bike path to help out. He was evacuated by ambulance to Uniontown Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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