Monday, June 09, 2008


In the past 20 years, the men that RIDE THE RAPIDS for a living have not seen anything like it – and it happened to Brian’s Dad.

In a high adventure trip with some scouts the boys had been riding with the scouts for about an hour on the rapids labeled a 6 – VERY DIFFICULT.

There was not time to relax - it was all intense. At one point, the guides told them to lean back , but they leaned back too far and the boat turned over. Brian’s dad and a small 12 year old boy were the only ones of the 7 not to be able to catch the safety rope and a very treacherous part of the rapids.

They both went over a 5 foot waterfall – seen in the picture – and got caught in a whirlpool called, “The Washing Machine.” This got their bodies caught and SWISHED and RIPPED around causing BRUISING and BONE BREAKAGE.

Brian’s Dad got uncaught (he had been underwater for awhile and was STILL underwater) as he went over the 12 FOOT WATERFALL called "THE BIG SPLAT" (pictured as the big falls here, with the 5 foot falls being behind it).

The current carried him further down stream. He was still TOTALLY disoriented and was still TOTALLY underwater not able to take a breath.

He kept telling himself – this is REALLY HARD but don’t try to take a breath while your under the water.

The lead kayaker’s plunged down the 12 FOOT FALLS to rescue him and another guide on the side came in a brought him to safety.

He was FINALLY able to take that BREATH.

I get short of breath just thinking about it.

They tried to find the 12 year old boy Timothy, but with NO LUCK. They waited for him downstream where they picked up Brian’s dad. However, they did find him on the side – he had been able to find a rock and he crawled on top of it….and waited.

The current had totally swished off their lower clothing – pants, underwear – everything. Going O NATURAL is not a fun way to be swirled about in dangerous rapids!

Timothy had to be AIR-LIFTED out -he had a BROKEN FEMUR along with numerous bumps and bruises.

Brian’s dad got 3 BROKEN RIBS, an incredibly swollen KNEE some goose egg BUMPS on the top of his head, and lots of bruises everywear.

On top of all that, he had to walk 3 miles ALONE along a grown-over-with-deadfall-and-lots-water-trenches-trail to get to where he needed to be reached by the ambulance. The other were with Tim and the other scouts. He HOBBLED along the trail as his RIBS SPASMED. It took him 1 ½ hours to scale the 1 ½ miles. It seemed like forever. Once in the ambulance – they basically 4 wheeled the trail rocking him painfully.

They both got to the hospital eventually. Brian’s Dad stayed overnight with lots of tests and a blessing, and Timothy stayed 2 Days. His parents drove overnight to the location in West Virginia.

Kevin, my brother in law is the scout master. He was great at maintaining control over the situation and keeping everything together as he watched the whole thing transpire in horror. He notified everyone, gave blessings, kept the other boys together, stayed up ALL NIGHT with Timothy and then drove 12 hours with no sleep to his brother’s house in Ohio where the boys all stayed the night.

It was quite an ordeal and we are SO glad it didn’t turn out any worse than it had to. A situation like that, DROWNING would have been an easy alternative to what happened. I think its safe to say that I don’t think Brian’s Dad will be riding the rapids any time soon!


Cami said...

Wow. That is very frightening. I am a fan of river rafting, but I have heard so many horror stories that I think maybe it's not something youth groups should do. I'm glad everyone will be ok!

Anonymous said...

Bro. Wayne
Several more details:

Our party had three four-man rafts. We were on the Big Sandy River in West Virginia.This particular river has no reservoirs that releas water into it. It is only run when there is sufficient water. This was the case with the recent rains.

It turns out that one of the kyakers who was stationed below the fall waiting for us to portage around the fall was in position to witness both Tim's and my unplanned trip through the rapids and over the two falls. I had a very limited view of the entire event. He clarified to me that when I went over the twelve footer that I landed on my left side on the large, most unforgiving rock, jutting out at the left-center of the falls. My life jacket and helmet were most helpful and performed their functions as designed. Our guides really 'rocked' in their efforts to rescue us. Edgar and Diandre did their share in 'back-boarding' Timmy to where the ATV finally arrived. Timmy was then transport by truck and then helicopter. I was then ATVed, trucked and then ambulanced to the Ruby Hospital in Morgan Town, West Virinia (W.V.Univ.)

Many involved, including myself, have testified of the help provided by the Spirit during the 'ordeal'. Despite our best efforts and those of the 'outfitter' the accident happened. How we reacted to it was up to us.

It was amazing to watch our quides really rise to the call and bring to bare their many years of experience and highly developed rafting and kayaking skills.

All those, and especially Kevin, in our unit conducted themselves in a way that brought credit to their affiliation with the Church.