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Bedrock Bob

Close call kayaking

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On Sunday evening my son and a big group were enjoying a paddle down Clear Creek Canyon near Winslow. There were about ten kayaks in a group headed back from a five mile trip upstream. They were a couple miles from the trucks floating along in a big group. The weekend was nearing an end and no one was in a big hurry for the day to come to an end.

At one point someone said." Where is David?" His kayak was floating upside down. No sign of him at all. Everyone looked at each other for a few seconds in confusion. My son and another fellow dove down into the water and started swimming around. The water was only about 12-15 feet deep and they went down and came up a couple times.

After a few dives my son's friend came up and hollered, "HE'S DOWN THERE!" They dove down and found him there laying on the bottom as still as stone. They grabbed him by the arms and drug him to (the very scarce) shoreline and performed CPR. He immediately exhaled a lung full of water and began to breathe around a lot of fluid. 

To make a long story short a motorboat came by and took him back to the launch. He was flown to a hospital and then flown to Albuquerque. He seems fine. He was under water a couple minutes AT LEAST. They are watching him for a few days just to make sure all is well.

No indication of what went wrong. He says one minute he was paddling along and the next he was on the beach coughing up water. He just lost consciousness for some reason. It was hot and that is the first best guess is that he had a mild heat stroke. They had all had a few beers so that may have played into it although he was not intoxicated at all. He has no history of seizures or fainting but that is always a chance. It is a real mystery as to why he suddenly lost consciousness. He just did.

No one was wearing a life vest. It was hot and they were all swimming around a lot. The canyon is super narrow. But as I pointed out afterward there is no beach in most places to swim to shore.  A rescue in in most spots would have meant doing it in the water in a sheer sided canyon. Without flotation that would be dicey.

If the same thing would have happened in cloudy, deep or moving water he would have never been found. Even if he was not wearing his life vest and just had it clipped to him on a lanyard it would have insured his recovery. Without it he just quietly slumped into the river and went straight to the bottom.

I hear he is doing fine today. Thank God. It was as close as a person could get to checking out. Only one little thing went wrong to put him on the bottom of that creek. A whole lot of things had to go just right to bring him back up alive.

Everyone involved was trained to do a rescue and knew just what to do. They are all young adventurers and outdoor guides. The people in that group had years of experience handing themselves in every natural setting imaginable. They were all in excellent shape and had prepared themselves mentally for this scenario. They reacted instinctively and ran the plan without saying a word. Within seconds of them figuring out there was a problem the guy was sputtering again. These guys are heroes. And not accidental heroes either. They put in their hours and trained and practiced to be heroes. When the time came they got it done. I think that is mighty awesome. I bet David does too.

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32 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

On Sunday evening my son and a big group were enjoying a paddle down Clear Creek Canyon near Winslow. There were about ten kayaks in a group headed back from a five mile trip upstream. They were a couple miles from the trucks floating along in a big group. The weekend was nearing an end and no one was in a big hurry for the day to come to an end.

At one point someone said." Where is David?" His kayak was floating upside down. No sign of him at all. Everyone looked at each other for a few seconds in confusion. My son and another fellow dove down into the water and started swimming around. The water was only about 12-15 feet deep and they went down and came up a couple times.

After a few dives my son's friend came up and hollered, "HE'S DOWN THERE!" They dove down and found him there laying on the bottom as still as stone. They grabbed him by the arms and drug him to (the very scarce) shoreline and performed CPR. He immediately exhaled a lung full of water and began to breathe around a lot of fluid. 

To make a long story short a motorboat came by and took him back to the launch. He was flown to a hospital and then flown to Albuquerque. He seems fine. He was under water a couple minutes AT LEAST. They are watching him for a few days just to make sure all is well.

No indication of what went wrong. He says one minute he was paddling along and the next he was on the beach coughing up water. He just lost consciousness for some reason. It was hot and that is the first best guess is that he had a mild heat stroke. They had all had a few beers so that may have played into it although he was not intoxicated at all. He has no history of seizures or fainting but that is always a chance. It is a real mystery as to why he suddenly lost consciousness. He just did.

No one was wearing a life vest. It was hot and they were all swimming around a lot. The canyon is super narrow. But as I pointed out afterward there is no beach in most places to swim to shore.  A rescue in in most spots would have meant doing it in the water in a sheer sided canyon. Without flotation that would be dicey.

If the same thing would have happened in cloudy, deep or moving water he would have never been found. Even if he was not wearing his life vest and just had it clipped to him on a lanyard it would have insured his recovery. Without it he just quietly slumped into the river and went straight to the bottom.

I hear he is doing fine today. Thank God. It was as close as a person could get to checking out. Only one little thing went wrong to put him on the bottom of that creek. A whole lot of things had to go just right to bring him back up alive.

Everyone involved was trained to do a rescue and knew just what to do. They are all young adventurers and outdoor guides. The people in that group had years of experience handing themselves in every natural setting imaginable. They were all in excellent shape and had prepared themselves mentally for this scenario. They reacted instinctively and ran the plan without saying a word. Within seconds of them figuring out there was a problem the guy was sputtering again. These guys are heroes. And not accidental heroes either. They put in their hours and trained and practiced to be heroes. When the time came they got it done. I think that is mighty awesome. I bet David does too.

Our thoughts and prayers go out for David's speedy recovery. High praise for the skilled and timely actions of the react team. Outstanding.

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I hope all goes well Bob.

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Wow a close call indeed, it's great all involved knew exactly what to do and acted quickly and without hesitation, kudos to all of them :thumbsupanim most people would panic and not know what to do much less act as quickly!!

I hope David has no lasting effects from his ordeal and they find out what actually made him pass out so he's more prepared in future outings.

Hopefully everyone learned a bit from this and in the future at least have their life preservers clipped to them if not actually wearing them!

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That is amazing and wild. So glad it had a good conclusion - at least up to this point. I also had a very close call in a kayak and while this is not the time for stories I wanted to say that these little boats can surprise even the most accomplished paddlers. Life jackets are a must.

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So happy this has had a good outcome!  I also have a kayak story, dumping over in San Francisco Bay and being sucked out under the Golden Gate Bridge...but later for that...Just so happy that Bob's story had a happy ending...Cheers, Unc

 

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I am always in a kayak in Alaska and always wear a PFD, the self inflating type.  That is a very scary story and I am glad to read he survived and is doing well.

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Congrats to the well trained group.  You always hope you never have to use your training. . .  Sounds like when the time came .. they didn't skip a beat.. kudos..

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