DESCRIPTION: On March 29, 1997 at about 1:30 p.m., Kevin Blattman died on the North Fork of the Santiam below Mill City, WA. It appears that Blattman was paddling tandem in a sit-on-top kayak; a second kayak was also on the trip. He flipped in a Class II rapid, bailed out, and became entangled on a rope someone left in the river. The rope pulled him to the bottom, where he drowned. His partner dove into the water several times to free him, but was unable to do so.
SOURCE: Jim Virgin, ACA, via email
ANALYSIS: (Walbridge): Debris left in streams, especially rope, is very dangerous, and has been implicated in several deaths. It is not clear if this is a boater’s throw rope or something else, but everyone who uses rivers must take care not to leave snag hazards in the water.