Accident Database

Report ID# 855

  • Pinned in Boat against Rock or Sieve
  • Does not Apply
  • Other

Accident Description

Fordyce Creek is a class IV-V run in the Donner Pass area of the California Sierras. The last rapid above the reservoir is pretty gnarly, and is known for sticky holes, strainers, and sieves. On June 17th a group of five was attempting the rapid when one of them got caught in a pourover and bailed out. According to a report posted on by Keith Kishiyama, Deb Martin, 34, quickly peeled out and gave chase. The swimmer got himself into an eddy quickly, but as the group collected his gear someone noticed that Ms. Martin was missing.
A search began. One of her group ran the rapid and found her paddle floating in the reservoir. She was finally spotted under water, still in her boat but barely visible. Her companions speculate that she may have been working her way across the river to pick up a pinned paddle when she flipped in a nearby pourover. She probably washed into a sieve while still upside-down. Ms. Martin was a self-sufficient Class V paddler, and the group was preoccupied with the rescue. No one saw what actually what happened. It took them over an hour to recover her body, but they finally snagged her arm and were able to pull her free using a z-drag.

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