Rafting deaths on Arkansas River reac...

Rafting deaths on Arkansas River reach five-year high

There are 26 comments on the KUSA Denver story from Jul 15, 2007, titled Rafting deaths on Arkansas River reach five-year high. In it, KUSA Denver reports that:

" Five people have died on the Arkansas River this year while riding commercial rafts.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KUSA Denver.

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FirstPoster

Fort Collins, CO

#1 Jul 15, 2007
1st!!!
Cheech

Wynnum, Australia

#2 Jul 15, 2007
How about telling us the story. What outfitters, when, previous death with that outfitter, age of victims, etc.
Hello

Longmont, CO

#3 Jul 15, 2007
"Five people have died on the Arkansas River this year while riding commercial rafts. It is not clear why that is."

Um, because they fell out of the rafts and into rapidly moving, turbulent water?

Since: May 07

Lyons, CO

#4 Jul 15, 2007
What sorts of injuries were the causes of death?

Were the rafting guides able to offer any assistance?

Are rafting guides expected to be First Aid/CPR certified?

Sorry to the families of those who were lost....
Drowned Rat

Wynnum, Australia

#5 Jul 15, 2007
From the news story:

"If you approach it with this attitude that this is Disneyland, you're misleading yourself."

2 or 3 weeks ago I was describing the experience of "drowning" I had as kid on this site, and a rafter guide came on and tried to "reassure" everyone how safe rafting was. You bet your life!!!
Awareness

Castle Rock, CO

#6 Jul 16, 2007
Vote for Ron Paul in 2008
WetWilly

Denver, CO

#7 Jul 16, 2007
How glorious to die in the beautiful Arkansas river under the majestic gaze of the Rocky Mountains!

Just think, they could have died in a car accident in Peoria, Il.

I think they were lucky to have had the experience. I'm sure they will be missed by friends and family, but they died doing something grand. How wounderful.
USA

Denver, CO

#8 Jul 16, 2007
most of the time people die of heart attacks. Falling into the cold water and the fact that you went over board gets people's hearts going.
Johnny

United States

#9 Jul 16, 2007
Here is a link to more information about the accident and the ages of the victims. Three of the 5 were over fifty and most likely died from heart failure.

http://www.chieftain.com/metro/1184557065/1

I think it outfitters need to require that people wear the proper clothing for the sport...neoprene suits/booties, splash jackets, helmets, etc. This stuff will insulate when wet, keeping you warm.A cotton t shirt and swimsuit just doesn't cut it in 40 degree water. Also, making each person prove they can swim in the cold water might be a good idea as well.
Cheech

Wynnum, Australia

#10 Jul 16, 2007
WetWilly wrote:
How glorious to die in the beautiful Arkansas river under the majestic gaze of the Rocky Mountains!
Just think, they could have died in a car accident in Peoria, Il.
I think they were lucky to have had the experience. I'm sure they will be missed by friends and family, but they died doing something grand. How wounderful.
Yes, isn't death so wonderful!, I think I'll go jump off a cliff in the glorious and beautiful Colorado high country right now. Dead IS DEAD, pendejo.
WetWilly

Denver, CO

#11 Jul 16, 2007
Cheech wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, isn't death so wonderful!, I think I'll go jump off a cliff in the glorious and beautiful Colorado high country right now. Dead IS DEAD, pendejo.
That's right. No heaven, no hell, just the end of existence. Why not go out doing someting you enjoy in a place with beautiful scenery? They could have had their heart attacks in the men's room at the airport. The way they went sounds like something to celebrate to me.
Chong

Denver, CO

#12 Jul 16, 2007
Cheech wrote:
<quoted text>
I think I'll go jump off a cliff in the glorious and beautiful Colorado high country right now.
Yes, would you please do that instead of posting gibberish to this forum?

“Managing Internal Chaos”

Since: Jul 07

Denver

#13 Jul 16, 2007
I just completed my annual raft trip down the Arkansas yesterday. As with any sport, there are dangers that must be considered. After falling from the raft, people panic and don't always make the right decision or follow the guides signals. I have been lucky to have never seen a rafter get injuries more serious than a scrape from the rocks. I have however seen the panic.

All outfitters require a helmet and personal floatation device. Splash jackets and booties are recommended and wet suits are available for anyone who wants them. When someone is in the river, any outfitter will assist in getting them to a safe place - EXCEPT 'Noahs Ark'.

The primary goal of river rafting is staying in the raft. If you do get tossed into the water you must work swiftly to get to a safe place - either in a raft or on shore. The guides are very adept at assisting in this situation.

It is unfortunate that five have died this year. I must say that the experience is fantastic and for me, it is worth the risk.
Skeptical

Denver, CO

#14 Jul 16, 2007
I cannot help but wonder if the rafting companies would be more careful if the patrons did not have to sign waivers. The waivers release the companies for the dangers inherent in the sport--which is fine.

But, the waivers also cover the negligence of the rafting company, which I do not think is fine. There is no good way for a patron to predict whether the rafting company will behave negligently, even when there is a way for the patron to gauge the inherent risks.

(All commenters please take careful note before replying of the distinction between inherent risks and negligence of the company.)

I know, for example, that one of the women who died was too big to safely raft. Even so, the company had her sign a waiver and took her fee. I think that a responsible company would have said: "Keep your money. It's not safe for you to come with us."
NYerr

AOL

#15 Jul 16, 2007
Regardless of what you think you can sign away in a waiver, if the rafting company is negligent and you can prove it, the waiver may not be worth the paper it is printed on. Perhaps losing a lawsuit or two will make the rafting companies more responsible and force the irresponsible ones out of business. They should turn away those that shouldn't be in the boat for whatever seems reasonable (too big, too young, too inexperienced,(let's say Class IV or V, extensive rowing, etc.). Were there enough guides, was adequate instruction given, did the guides have walkie talkies, was hypothermia a result of not wearing a wetsuit? Better protocols need to be established, lessons should be learned from these deaths. A coroner's inquiry into each death should occur. And if there are consequences to the rafting company due to negligence, so be it.
AJan

United States

#16 Jul 17, 2007
It would be great if there was reliable information publicly available for all accidents. It is a touchy subject to find information regarding the experience and health of those who have passed away on the river.
Although I have a bit of knowledge because I was on the river on July 5th, and was among the group who assisted with the rescue, I am not willing to speculate because I didn't see the actual accident. Talking privately with a friend of one of the victims, I understand that she had not previously rafted. Perhaps the Numbers running at almost 1,100 cfm is not the place for the inexperienced. I find it interesting that several raft companies advertise on their web-sites that a mininum age is required for this section of the river, but they frequently say, no previous experience required.

“Managing Internal Chaos”

Since: Jul 07

Denver

#17 Jul 17, 2007
AJan wrote:
It would be great if there was reliable information publicly available for all accidents. It is a touchy subject to find information regarding the experience and health of those who have passed away on the river.
Although I have a bit of knowledge because I was on the river on July 5th, and was among the group who assisted with the rescue, I am not willing to speculate because I didn't see the actual accident. Talking privately with a friend of one of the victims, I understand that she had not previously rafted. Perhaps the Numbers running at almost 1,100 cfm is not the place for the inexperienced. I find it interesting that several raft companies advertise on their web-sites that a mininum age is required for this section of the river, but they frequently say, no previous experience required.
If she was on the canyon section and had never rafted before than she was in over her head - no pun intended.
Ruth Heelings

Monument, CO

#18 Aug 4, 2007
Can someone please tell me what company or companies were responsible for the deaths in the Arkansas River this year?
Ruth Heelings

Monument, CO

#19 Aug 4, 2007
WetWilly wrote:
How glorious to die in the beautiful Arkansas river under the majestic gaze of the Rocky Mountains!
Just think, they could have died in a car accident in Peoria, Il.
I think they were lucky to have had the experience. I'm sure they will be missed by friends and family, but they died doing something grand. How wounderful.
Of ya what an honor. I think most people would say that drowning would not be the way to die and leave there family behind.
Red

United States

#20 Aug 6, 2007
To Ruth: The ARKANSAS RIVER was responsible for their death.

I doubt any of the rafting companies think it's good for business to kill patrons. I myself floated the river near Buena Vista on July 31 and had the misfortune of getting dumped out of the boat when my fellow rafters moved to the "wrong right" instead of the "correct right". The two of us in the raft who leaned the way the guide said, ended up in the water. I had a raft on my head when I tried to get above water. It's not a nice feeling, but the water tasted great and I was fortunate enough to get out alive.

My two daughters were with me, but we were all in separate rafts, which turned out to be a good thing.

Nothing worthwhile comes without risk. I've been in car accidents and walked away from a plane crash that happened at midnight. I never hesitated to fly again, drive again, nor would I have a problem rafting again.

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