Incident 20030921

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20030921?, 21 September 2003 19:00?, Near-miss? / Swim?
Victim?: NZ, 22, Male
Location?: Otago/Kawarau/Kawarau Falls?

Class?: I
Flow?: Unknown
Boat Type?: Other/Unknown kayak
Trip Type?: Private


A local kayaker, paddling alone, passed under the southern end of the Kawarau Falls bridge and became caught in the powerful recirculation formed by the concrete sill. He capsized and swam and was repeatedly sucked under the water. Two commercial jetboat drivers passed the man's empty kayak and heard his cries for help, and were able to pull him out. A witness described the man as "cold and quite shaken."


The victim apparently ignored warning signs installed after a recent fatality in the hydraulic below the bridge (refer Incident 20030328).

River users should obey warning signs, especially when artificial structures are involved (Recommendation 1.23).
Recommend that kayakers don't paddle alone.
Paddlers should have sufficient knowledge to recognise hazards (Recommendation 1.27).

Near death of kayaker sparks concern: Focus on reducing risk, 25 September 2003, Leah McFall, ODT. (Copy & paste link)
Dangers of ignoring signs underlined: Jet-boat duo rescues kayaker, 24 September 2003, Leah McFall, ODT. (Copy & paste link)

Reported by?: Jonathan Hunt
Created: 2003-12-09, changed: 2003-12-09.