Accident Database

Report ID# 861

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

Accident Description

Two brothers died when their guided raft flipped in House Rock Rapid, a big class IV drop on Montana's Gallatin River. John Staley, 58, and Vernon Staley, 56, were in a boat that flipped on a mid-stream boulder near the top of this pounding, mile-long rapid. Water levels were near their seasonal peak. A safety kayaker helped two women reach shore, then took off after the men. He pulled one of them into shallow water, then chased the other. When the second man proved to be unresponsive, the safety kayaker bailed out of his boat, grabbed the man, pulled him to shore, and began CPR. But it was too late. And while this was going on the first man, probably overcome by exhaustion and cold water, slipped back into the river and also died.

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