Accident Database

Report ID# 841

  • Flush Drowning
  • Does not Apply
  • Darkness
  • High Water

Accident Description

Hurricanes mean high water, and this can provide challenging sport for skilled paddlers. But it’s another story when reckless thrill-seekers become involved.

According to the Harrisonburg, Virginia’s Daily News-Record, three college students made a fast trip down Black’s Run just after midnight on September 19th. This tiny creek, which runs right through Harrisonburg, seldom has enough water to float a boat. The trio had a good first run, and decided to try it again. As before, they launched their canoe behind their home. But the water was rising, and they capsized at about 2:36 AM.

Two men swam to shore safely, but a third did not. Rescuers were called out, but initially saw nothing but flood waters and darkness. At 7:30 that morning they found the body of Chris Ball, 21, in the creek. People at the memorial service remembered the dead man as a charismatic athlete and leader who “lived his life in a flash”.

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