Blue River Incident

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Pat O'C
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Location: OP, KS

Blue River Incident

Postby Pat O'C » Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:51 am

We had an incident last Saturday on the Blue at Surfing Wave. I know I learned some lessons and I'm posting this just in the hope that nobody makes the same mistakes I made.

There was a stump sticking up in the middle of the river about six feet below the wave. It was barely visible, in fact I didn't notice until my bow bumped it after my first surf.

My daughter Kate came off of the wave after her second or third ride and got pinned on it. Luckily her head was above water and first Rod then Kevin were able to get to her and stay her by resting their boats against part of what turned out out to be more of a tree than a stump.

In a bit of a panic, I flipped and swam right after it happened. I got to the gravel bar downstream on river left, got my throw rope and tried to get upstream. That turned out to be a deadend. Then I swam across the river with my rope, ran upstream and eventually got out on the big tree laying down in the water on river right. Rod came over with his throw rope and got on the tree with me. After several throws Rod got his rope to Kevin. Kevin tied it to Kate's bow and suggested Rod and I tie our ropes together to allow us to pull from the bank upstream at a better angle -- good idea. While I was getting off of the tree. Rod pulled Kate off of the strainer much to everybody's relief. After some hugging, Kate's first comment was, "I'm still going to kayak, okay?"

Here are the lessons I learned:

1. Always have a throw rope in every boat on moving water.
2. Always have a throw rope in every boat on moving water.
3. Always have a throw rope in every boat on moving water.
4. Wood is bad -- very bad. Initially I didn't think that stump was an issue because I just bounced off of it. Was I ever wrong.
5. Always be aware of your downstream consequences.
6. If there is any doubt in you mind, go with your instincts.
7. Seek training. I'll be looking for a swiftwater rescue course in the very near future.

I cannot and will not ever be able to express enough appreciation and gratitude to Kevin and Rod, but again -- THANKS GUYS!! Feel free to add or amend any of my comments.
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Shawn
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Postby Shawn » Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:11 pm

I am very glad that everything turned out well.

Pat, I think the lessons you learned are lessons that everyone should take heed of before its too late. To illustrate, while you, Rod, Kate, and Kevin were on the Blue, we were over at the Saint. While suiting up someone( i won't mention names because i have already forgotten who it was) made the comment that they weren't going to be taking their rope with them because we were just running the upper section. I suggested that they take their rope just in case because you never know when you will need a second rope or third rope. That person decided to take their rope at that point. Luckily we did not need our rope that day, but there were many times on the river that day where ropes were used by other groups.

If there is one lesson I wish to stress, always be prepared. You might think a run is only a play run, but you never know what might happen. Better to be safe then sorry.


Pat. I am glad everyone was able to make it off the river safely.
Shawn
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