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Accident Description


On June 11th canoeist Curtis Ensley, 46, got into big trouble after he flipped in Tablesaw Rapid on Tennessee's Ocoee River. According to a posting to Boatertalk, his foot became trapped after he swam into the hole at the bottom. A steep drop can take you from a "foot-up" to a "foot down" position very quickly, and your best defense is to pull your knees up against your chest as you go over the drop. When Mr. Ensley came up his canoe was floating in the backwash nearby. He grabbed it and screamed for help.

Guides from Rolling Thunder and Outland Rafting moved in quickly. A raft lower was set up, and eventually others got into the water directly behind Mr. Ensley. They could keep his head above water, but could not release his foot. According to Charlie Miller, the owner of Rolling Thunder, one of his guides pushed himself under water and found the stern line of the canoe wrapped around Mr. Ensley's leg. Pressure from the rope was jamming the leg into the gap between the rocks. After a number of attempts the guide was able to cut the line. Afterwards, the leg came free easily. This entire rescue took 45 minutes. Mr. Ensley's leg was badly injured by the rope and rocks, but he is very grateful to be alive.