Accident Database

Report ID# 860

  • Swim into Strainer
  • Heart Attack / Heart Failure
  • Cold Water

Accident Description

On June 22nd a tourist from Chicago died on a commercial rafting trip on Sixmile Creek near Anchorage, Alaska. This class IV river consists entirely of snow and glacier melt, and water temperatures are extremely low. One of their guests, Clarence Savage, 52, wore a drysuit, life vest, and helmet. He was thrown into the water when his raft hit a "rough spot" in "The Predator" rapid. He washed under a log before guides could get to him and was not breathing despite excellent gear and short immersion time. In a interview in the Anchorage, Alaska Daily News, State Trooper Greg Wilkinson reminded us that very cold water can cause breathing or heart problems in susceptible individuals. This includes many people over 50.

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