Accident Database

Report ID# 889

  • Pinned in Boat against Rock or Sieve
  • Does not Apply
  • Failed Rescue

Accident Description

On May 6th Dr. Erich Fleischman, 50, died after his kayak pinned in what rescuers called a “small rapid” on Oregon’s remote Illinois River. According to an article in the Jackson County Mail-Tribune, his group was able to free his boat and get him to shore, but he died 90 minutes later.

Few details are available, and anyone who can give a full account of what happened is encouraged to contact the AW Safety Committee.


Erich Fleischman

May 10th, 2005
Illinois River

GRANTS PASS -- A 50-year-old Grants Pass man died after he was pinned underwater against a boulder while kayaking on the Illinois River in a remote reach of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. R. Erich Fleischman, a naturopathic physician, spent five to seven minutes under water last Friday before being pulled from the river by companions who successfully performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation to restore his breathing, said Josephine County sheriff's Lt. Brian Anderson. But about 90 minutes later, Fleischman's pulse stopped and another 45 minutes of CPR failed to revive him, Anderson said.

Fleischman was an experienced river runner who had done an annual Illinois River trip with friends for the past 15 to 20 years, police said. The accident occurred at a small rapid near Klondike Creek that isn't among the difficult and highly technical white water for which the Illinois River is famed. After the accident, another member of the 10-person party paddled out of the canyon and broke into an unoccupied cabin at Lower Oak Flat near Agness to call 9-1-1, Anderson said. An Oregon Air National Guard helicopter flew Fleischman's body Saturday to Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford.

-- Beth Quinn

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!