Accident Database

Report ID# 9363


Accident Description

While private boating with some friends, we were running down the first rapid of the Coloma to Greenwood section above Old Scary. As we reached the bottom of the rapid, I saw a man holding a throwbag fully extended on the river right shore and floating in the water downstream. Not knowing what the situation was, I moved all the way to the left shore to give them room until I heard someone yell, "Her foot is stuck!" It was then that I saw the victim stuck near the river right shore with the water surging over her head, but wasn't completely underwater. I immediately pulled over to the river right eddy, got out of my raft, and started making my way back upstream.

A commercial company was already in the eddy with two rafts and some guides on shore trying to make a plan, as well as some of the victims party on shore holding throwbags. I was able to swim and wade the fifteen or so feet out to the victim and make contact. Once I pulled her head out of the water, I was able to ask her what was stuck and she was able to respond and say it was her spray deck from her kayak. During the initial contact, it was noted that she was lethargic, tired, and her lips were blue. Not knowing how long she was stuck for, I immediately called over to shore to call 911 in order to get an ambulance ready. As I held her head out of the water, I was able to reach around and feel that the back of her spray deck was wrapped around a stick that was protruding back upstream and stuck in some rocks. I wasn't able to get her skirt off the stick and hold her head out of the water at the same time, so I called out for a guide from the company to come help me.

Once the guide arrived, she took over holding the victim's head out of the water, and I was able to reach around with both hands and pull the spray deck up and off the stick. When the victim came loose, I was able to turn around and hold her in the eddy behind my body. At this time, she was still verbally responsive, but clearly exhausted and almost limp. The other guides from shore were able to lower a boat down to us and we loaded the victim into the raft. Once she was on the raft, we removed her helmet, spray deck, pfd, and held the neck gasket of her dry top open so that she could breathe easier. One of the guides was a doctor and took over the medical treatment from there.

After a brief assessment they floated the raft and the victim down to the top of Old Scary where the ambulance was waiting and the victim was able to walk herself to the ambulance. I was unable to determine how long the victim had been stuck and the raft company didn't know either. From my arrival to the victim making it to the ambulance took about 30 minutes.

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