Incident 20070323

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20070323?, 23 March 2007 12:30?, Injury incident? / Other?
Victim?: FRA, 25, Male
Location?: Canterbury/Rangitata/Rangitata Gorge/Rooster Tail and over Pig's Trough?

Class?: IV
Flow?: 65cu , "Medium"
Boat Type?: Kayak-Playboat/Bliss-Stick Flipstick
Trip Type?: Private


A group of five paddlers inspected Rooster Tail, on their second run through the gorge. One paddler, aiming river right to punch through the right buffer wave, instead got curled into it and subbed out. The kayaker was kicked left and upside down into Pig's Trough.

The kayaker was violently pushed onto rocks on the riverbed, sustaining several vertical shocks on their helmet. The kayaker flushed, rolled up and caught an eddy. In the eddy they noticed a stiff and painful neck, a chipped tooth and lacerations.

The paddler transferred to a creek boat, was assisted in ferrying to river right, and helped out of the gorge. They walked to below the whitewater, and then rafted-up with two boaters to the takeout. X-rays and CTs at Christchurch Hospital diagnosed a fracture of the C2 vertebra.


Shallow holes with violent hydraulics are a recognised hazard, and are usually avoided. Kayakers occasionally drop into them as a consequence of a missed line.

The group's response was appropriate and prudent, and managed to avoid more serious consequences.

If a neck injury is suspected, it may be more appropriate to completely immobilise the patient and seek helicopter or stretcher evacuation.


Reported by?: Luc Toussaint
Created: 2007-04-11, changed: 2007-04-11.