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Thanks for the link. I had just found the article on my own.


The article doesn't say whether the float trip was guided or not.


"McHouston and other adult leaders with a group of Boy Scouts launched a raft from the West Table boat ramp to run the popular whitewater stretch of the Snake River south of Jackson.


McHouston was thrown from the raft when it hit a rapid known as Three Oar Deal, a spokeswoman for Bridger-Teton National Forest said Friday. McHouston, who was wearing a personal flotation device, was sucked under.


Just the force of the whirlpool kept him under, Richins said. This time of year, especially, with that volume of water, those whirlpools can be pretty vicious.


Another trip leader was thrown from the raft but was able to swim away, Richins said, and all of the Boy Scouts stayed in the raft and were unhurt. Richins said he did not know how may Scouts were on the trip."


What a tragic end to what was supposed to be a fun adventure - a memory that no Scout should have!

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After reading the stories online and what was on the newspaper's site, thia appears to be nothing but a tragic accident. The Leader was trained and experianced and they had already done it twice.  

After reading the stories online and what was on the newspaper's site, thia appears to be nothing but a tragic accident. The Leader was trained and experianced and they had already done it twice.


I think waynepjh, in his origonal post was way oout of bounds here and he didn't even have his fact close to being correct.


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Again, my heart goes out to the family and troop.


After going and reading the article that NE's listed, I have to agree that they were well prepared, that is except on one point.

How would your stamina and strength going to be on your second run down the river? Then the third run?


On the third run they had to be a little tired, and their stamina not as good as on the first run. It leads to tragic results when we don't listen to our bodies.


They young ones may have the stamina to go two rounds, maybe three. At our age though, I might make two. I would be drained enough to not attempt a third run.


The third run might sound like fun, but is it really safe?(This message has been edited by ASM915)

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Why don't people get it? I am going to post a video of this hazard its not a rapid is is to always be avoided not run. The only people that go into this hole are inexperienced river runners its as bad as a strainer. The info I provided is what happened I was there and helped out. This was the 5th or 6th boy scout troop to float into this hazard THIS YEAR. If professional river guides had not floated by and rescued kids from this hole more kids would of died. None of the kids in this accident were prepared for the river the temp of the water was 40 degrees none of the kids had wetsuits some did not have suitable life jackets. I posted this because this happens so often and nobody seems to care. I have followed this post and thank the people that have taken it seriuosly and are proposing more training for leaders. I would personally give any leader my own version of a free guides course just get in touch with me. Thank you

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U.S. Forest Service - Bridger-Teton National Forest - Teton Division - Snake River Highlights - Notable Water Features:


3.1 Three Oar-Deal (II,V)

At high flows (>12,000 cfs), the hole at Three Oar-deal is possibly the most dangerous on the river. As the river turns to the right, the main current flows over a sandstone ledge protruding from the left, creating a huge and potentially deadly reversal. This unassuming ledge has been the scene of a few horror stories and drowning incidents. The reversal can be easily avoided by maintaining an inside line on the right throughout the turn. At low flows, the danger diminishes as the hole disappears and an innocent looking, partially submerged ledge takes its place.


The above states that the reversal is easily avoidable by following a certain line. Haven't been there, don't know for sure - but these descriptions are normally fairly accurate and are widely used by those planning float trips (part of Safety Afloat).


waynepjh - You keep implying that a boy was killed - FP: "A boy scout leader took his troop into this hole and killed one boy", SP: "If professional river guides had not floated by and rescued kids from this hole more kids would of died." According to all of the information that I can find, none of the Boy Scouts even went into the water. Four adult leaders were thrown into the water. Tragically one of them, a 50 year old experienced whitewater rafter, drowned.


To those of us who have accepted the responsibility for other people's children over the years, this was a tragedy yes, but nothing like it would have been to have lost one of the Scouts. I understand your concern as I have wound up in the water myself on occasion, the worst time from a raft steered by a professional guide. I have avoided returning to that particular river. BSA emphasizes specialized training for all high adventure activities so that we are looking out for our charges.


I can appreciate your concern and would certainly not want to be pulling people out of a river on a regular basis and performing CPR. On the other hand, if I was responsible for a group, I don't know that I would be comfortable having an 18 year old as my guide. I would be feeling more comfortable with someone with a little more maturity and experience. With this in mind and realizing your emotional state when you originally posted, please try to get your facts a little more straight when dealing with such an emotionally charged issue.


Safety first, the river doesn't always give you a second chance!

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Yah, I'm not sure if Wayne said he was an 18-year-old guide or a guide of 18 years experience.


The second article is interestin', eh? It does look like they were deliberately running the hole at Three Oar Deal instead of takin' the inside of the turn around the bend to avoid it. That's a poor choice with kids. They might have been used to bein' on the river at lower water. Lack of proper gear is a big concern too? That water is cold. Havin' a whole parcel of shivering kids and adults around I'm sure only added to the confusion of the scene for the rescuers who were tryin' to help, and may be why Wayne didn't get da facts right. Yeh have to imagine the confusion at such a scene.


We shouldn't be too quick to dismiss some legitimate concerns.


At the same time a 50-year-old somewhat overweight man swimming a cold-water hole at the end of a long day... might not be a drowning at all, eh? If I'm goin' to go from heart failure, doin' it havin' fun on a river is as good a way as any. Just not with kids around.




(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Have had a PM from Wayne which clarified some information that was easily confused.


He is a 35 year old and has worked professionally on the river for 18 years. He says that he has guided on rivers all over the world and that this is one of the worst obstacles that he has ever seen. When he spoke of "more kids would of died", he wasn't referring to this particular accident but of other accidents that he has seen. He has apparently seen a lot of inexperienced people do a lot of stupid stuff on the river and, rightly so, is frustrated by what he has seen. A lot of the groups that he has seen get into trouble are Scouts groups whose leaders are obviously not exercising due diligence in their float trip preparation.


Wayne wants the Scout leaders to stop this gross negligence before there is a similar occurrence. How could anyone not agree with him? The question is what steps can we take. Obviously one answer would be to only take trips like this under the supervision of professional guides. I know that is the only way that I would do it. Should National mandate that whitewater rafting be only done under the supervision of professional guides? I wouldn't have a problem at all with that. Should local councils do a better job of educating leaders about Safety Afloat? Definitely!


Hopefully there are warning signs posted at put-in spots along this section of the river warning that Three Oar Deal is not a rapids but is a dangerous obstacle to be avoided at all costs, regardless of water level.


Obviously, this was a nasty accident and Wayne, being one of the guides rendering aid, has every right to be emotional. We can all sympathize with him and spread the word to do-it-right whenever we hear that someone is planning a whitewater trip or any trip on the water, for that matter!


Safety first, the river doesn't always give you a second chance!

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I also received a very inappropriate email from this person. He didn't like it because I called him on his facts being wrong. My thoughts are that he is not who he claims to be.


While I beleive that you should use a guide if the conditions call for it, we have rafted places that a guide was not needed. Note that they had made 2 successful trip down there already. They got off the line on this last one. I have seen professional guides do this and flip rafts also.(This message has been edited by nldscout)

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nldscout -


I didn't receive an inappropriate email from waynepjh. The several that I received have been well thought out and were to give me additional information and to clarify the facts that he first presented. I think that we have someone here who is truly concerned about something that he sees as a real problem - and it is or we wouldn't continue to hear of these incidences.

He is obviously still upset about an accident that didn't have to happen and a role that he was forced to play in a rescue attempt.


I give him a lot of credit for his concern about our kids!!

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While I respect your point of view, I also disagee with your assesment of waynepjh.


To waynepjh, I asked your politely not to PM me again, please be a man and respect my wishes.(This message has been edited by nldscout)

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All whitewater trips require a guide? I hope not. A river like the Nantahala, basically a Class I & II, with 2 Class III rapids at the end, isn't a difficult river to run. At Summer Camp, we run guide-assisted trips with the younger boys, with guides in roughly 1 out of 3 boats. After a couple of trips down the river, you have it pretty well figured out. It is a good river to teach the boys to steer on. I think requiring all Troops to hire guides to run that river would be overkill.


The older boys at Summer Camp get to run the Ocoee, which is Class III and IVs all the way down. Pretty intense river, lots of fun (the upper Ocoee was site of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater events). All boats have guides, and I wouldn't run it without guides.


From current BSA Safety Afloat:


6. Skill Proficiency


All participants in activity afloat must be trained and experienced in watercraft handling skills, safety, and emergency procedures. (a) For unit activity on white water, all participants must complete special training by a BSA Aquatics Instructor or qualified whitewater specialist.



Additional information for white water activities:


American Whitewater Guidelines

The following guidelines, adapted from the American Whitewater Safety Code, are geared especially for Scouting-related whitewater activities and are an excellent supplement to the SAfety Afloat guidelines.



1.Be a competent swimmer

Being a safe whitewater boater does not require Olympian swimming skills, but you should be comfortable and competent in the water and be able to handle yourself underwater.


2.Wear a personal flotation device (PFD)

A properly fitted vest-type PFD offers back and shoulder protection as well as the flotation needed to swim safely in whitewater.


3.Wear a solid, correctly fitted helmet

A helmet is essential in kayaks or covered canoes and is recommended for open canoeists using thigh straps and rafters running steep drops.


4.Keep your boat under control

Your skills should be sufficiently developed to enable you to stop or get to shore before reaching danger. Do not enter a rapid unless you are reasonably sure that you can run it safely or swim it without injury.


5.Be aware of river hazards

Whitewater rivers present many hazards, such as high water of very cold water, strainers (brush or trees in the water), dams, ledges, holes, undercut rocks, or places where broaching (hitting an obstacle broadside) is likely. If you do not think you can boat around a hazard, get out and walk.


6.Avoid Boating Alone

The recommended minimum party is three people in at least two craft.


7.Know the limits of your boating ability

Do not attempt rivers or rapids that require paddling skills more advanced than those you possess


8.Know how to self-rescue

Learn and practice self-rescue techniques such as recovering from a capsize.


9.Be trained in rescue skills

Be able to perform CPR and first aid, including being able to recognize and treat hypothermia.


10.Be suitable equipped and prepared for emergencies

■Wear shoes that protect your feet.

■Carry a throw rope, knife, whistle, and waterproof matches.

■Tie your glasses on.

■Bring duct tape on short runs and a full repair kit on isolated rivers.

■Do not wear bulky clothing that could get waterlogged and hinder your ability to swim.



11.Be responsible for your own safety

■Make thoughtful and responsible decisions about whether to participate in a trip.

■Choose appropriate equipment.

■Scout all rapids first and use your best judgment to decide whether to run or portage.

■Evaluate your own and your group's safety on an ongoing basis. Speak with anyone whose actions on the water are dangerous, whether the person is a part of your group or not.


For more information about whitewater safety and to view the complete American Whitewater Safety Code, visit www.americanwhitewater.org


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Note that they had made 2 successful trip down there already. They got off the line on this last one. I have seen professional guides do this and flip rafts also. "this from nds scout"

Got off line what are you talking about you don't have any clue as to my point. Nobody runs three oar deal NOBODY I am a competent class V boater and would never run this hazard NEVER. and to take scouts there is negligence, to say that craig was an experienced boater is wrong sorry. That is my point and if nobody gets it here than natural selection will rule! Bye all I tried my best and thanks to the FEW that understand my point. I have two kids and will never let them join scouts unless I am the leader. I will post after the next accident but If me or another professional guide save the people before they die than this will still be taken casualy. Thanks all See ya! me.(This message has been edited by waynepjh)

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Nobody runs three oar deal NOBODY


Yah, I'm sorry Wayne. I might be misunderstandin', but are you really claimin' that everyone portages Three Oar Deal?


I don't think so.


I think everyone runs it right and avoids da hole at these water levels. Which then raises the possibility that someone could get off line. Or fall out upstream and get swept by the main flow into the hydraulic. Or....


And I know the feature becomes less hazardous and eventually goes away at lower water.


So perhaps da issue may just be that they screwed up on the last run. More likely to my mind is that some BSA units don't understand da whole idea of flow rate. I bet since you and your folks are on the river a lot, you could do some of our troops a good turn just by volunteering to give them an informal briefing before they put in. "At this water level, Kahuna is fun but Three Oar Deal is dangerous and yeh have to stay right." I'm sure like any guide you can make that fun and entertaining with a point.


When I see folks puttin' on a river that shouldn't (college kids are most common), that's what I do. Yeh have to be friendly and non-threatenin', but they'll listen and think about it. Even a gentle comment about "gee, your guys really look under-equipped for this cold water. We wouldn't be comfortable takin' guys out like that" will stay with 'em. They might run anyway, but they'll remember for next time.


We'll keep workin' da problem on our side, but as I mentioned off-line there are some institutional challenges. And we're just so big, eh? Just try to get a million and a half people to do anything, even without da added challenges. Guide services have it easy. :) They're small, they can be selective about hiring and who they keep, they've got guys full time for trainin', and they can make rules specific to the few rivers that they use. We don't have those luxuries.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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