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Incident 20061011

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20061011?, 11 October 2006 11:00?, Fatal accident? / Entrapment-Sieve?
Victim?: NZ, 68, Male
Location?: Waikato/Waihou/Okoroire Falls/?

Class?: II
Flow?: ?cu , "Medium"
Boat Type?: Other/Sit-on-top
Trip Type?: Private

Summary?:

A party of two kayakers on sit-on-top kayaks set out on placid water. The paddlers went over Okoroire Falls into a gorge and were thrown from their kayaks. At the falls the entire river enters a rock sieve. One made it to shore suffering cuts, bruises and hypothermia. The other paddler was missing and searches were unsuccessful. The body was located 18 days after the accident.

Discussion?:

The party have been described as experienced. They wore lifejackets and the kayaks were probably appropriate for the initial section of water (Recommendation 1.5).

It appears that the kayakers were surprised by the gorge and falls. Kayakers should find out as much as practicable about the river trip (Recommendation 1.1).

Even familiar stretches may contain a new hazard (due to treefall or slips, for example). Always scout what you can't see from the water (Recommendation 1.19).

A sign warning of the falls' extreme danger was found downstream. Police suspect vandalism.

Sources?:
Accident Report Okoroire Kayak 06 1302, March 2008, Maritime NZ.
Kayaker's mate died after warning sign removed, 31 October 2006, Juliet Rowan, NZ Herald
Body found in Waihou River, 30 October 2006, NZ Herald
Hunt still on in Waikato for kayaker, 16 October, Waikato Times.
Many signs vandalised: river users, 14 October 2006, Esther Harward and Tamara Penniket, Waikato Times
Vandalised sign might have saved kayaker's life - police, 13 Oct 2006, Simon O'Rourke, Radio NZ.
Kayakers warning sign found downstream, 13 October 2006, Tamara Penniket and Esther Harward, Waikato Times
Divers scour river for missing kayaker, 13 October 2006, NZ Herald
Gorge claims kayaker, 12 October 2006, Tamara Penniket and Justine Turner, Waikato Times

Reported by?: Jonathan Hunt
Created: 2006-10-14, changed: 2008-03-11.

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