Victim?: NZ, Male
A party of six paddled the Mangakahia River from the road bridge north of Waimatenui. After 800m the victim advised several of the party to abandon the trip due to one having an unsuitable canoe and the other due to possible insufficient stamina for the strenuous trip ahead. The remaining four paddlers continued, inspecting all rapids from the bank.
On reaching the junction of the Waiokumara Stream, one paddler canoed the junction rapid and the rapid following (which was out-of-sight to those upstream of the junction). After a few minutes he was followed by the victim, who hit a submerged rock mid-stream in the second rapid and his kayak immediately folded around it trapping him by the legs.
The first paddler, who was inspecting the third rapid out-of-sight downstream, noticed a paddle and walked upstream to check. He found the victim just escaping from his kayak after tearing it apart with his bare hands and, after his swim down the remainder of the rapid, helped him ashore. The victim suffered from cuts to the backs of the knees and hands with bits of glass and resin embedded.
The victim was not visible to the first paddler, or those who had yet to run the junction rapid, and was required to self-rescue. Watch all paddlers through all rapids (Recommendation 2.8).
For more difficult rapids, mitigate risks by placing paddlers in kayaks in eddies and people with throwbags on banks (Recommendation 2.11.5).
Carry a first-aid kit (Recommendation 1.9).
Accident Report (Canoeing), 3 September 1973, J Williamson, Hauraki Kayak Group (Inc.)
Created: 2004-05-05, changed: 2004-05-07.