Incident 20040806

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20040806?, 6 August 2004 14:00?, Near-miss? / Swim?
Victims?: NZ, 19, Male. NZ, 19, Male
Location?: Otago/Leith/Water of Leith/Weir below St David Street?

Class?: II
Flow?: 24cu , "High"
Boat Type?: Unknown/Unknown
Trip Type?: Private


Two kayakers on flooded river, became trapped in a weir after failing to punch through the reversal. The force of the recirculation forced them under regularly over a 10 minute period, and stripped them of boots and a helmet. Their cries for help attracted rescuers, one of whom threw a 100m black extension cord, but the kayakers were unable to locate it in the turbulence. A climbing rope was procured and the kayakers were hauled out. Only one kayak was recovered.


Local practice is to normally exit at the St David Street bridge and portage the weir (Recommendation 1.1).

High flow tends to increase the power of hydraulics, particularly weirs (Recommendation 1.25).

Artificial weirs are notorious for creating even hydraulics that are difficult, or even impossible, to escape from (Recommendation 1.23).

The kayakers were fortunate that they were in a populated area and rescuers were able to react quickly to locate useful equipment.

Kayakers trapped by raging river feared for their lives, 6 August 2004, Tom McKinlay, ODT. (Copy & paste link)

Reported by?: Jonathan Hunt
Created: 2004-10-26, changed: 2004-10-26.