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 Post subject: Howe Sound Kayak Accident
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:34 am 
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four kayakers had to be rescued and taken to hospital.

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news ... c2&k=88234

i just heard a report on the radio that said one of the rescued kayakers has died in hospital.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:43 am 
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Here's a slighty different reported version of the events, incuding report of one fatality (and a responding cop car flipping over...?) I guess the full details and names will be made known sooner or later.

http://www.news1130.com/news/local/arti ... 02416_4516


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:00 pm 
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Sadlly, the news is getting worse. An informal report indicates that two have died.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:13 pm 
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The two death report seems official now. One name released.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columb ... ml?ref=rss


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:19 pm 
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cbc mention 2 that didn't make it:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columb ... ml?ref=rss

Sounds like they intended to go out in those conditions:
i wonder what 'experienced' kayakers means?


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:44 pm 
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mick_allen wrote:
cbc mention 2 that didn't make it:
Sounds like they intended to go out in those conditions:
i wonder what 'experienced' kayakers means?
.


A TV news report I've seen describes them as "adventure racers." It is difficult to master all the various skills adventure racers need - running, swimming, climbing, paddling, etc.
And I don't mean that as a suggestion that specialized "single sport" sea kayakers might not have made the same bad choice to go out in those conditions as these folks did, or suffered a similar fate. Obviously, sea kayakers have died over the years. And I personally have no problem admitting I've made calls it was clear in retrospect were bad ones, and that I got through the situations by good luck rather than good management.
I think that applies to anyone who's spent much time at sea in small boats. When I heard anyone claiming to have a lot of such experience, and also claiming never to have been scared, I'm inclined to think they're:

A. lying about the amount of their experience

or

B. lying about never having been scared

or

C. a damned fool.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:09 pm 
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Sad, and excellent post kw....


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:13 pm 
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The CBC report points out that no-one in the group was wearing a life jacket. It seems such a fundamental error to be in a kayak, even in mild conditions, without a life jacket, you have to wonder what 'experienced' means


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:19 pm 
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No life jackets or wetsuits according to the cbc story. There's a tragic lesson there.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:23 pm 
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mick_allen wrote:
cbc mention 2 that didn't make it:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columb ... ml?ref=rss

Sounds like they intended to go out in those conditions:
i wonder what 'experienced' kayakers means?

I don't think it means very much after reading the following in the article:

"The survivors reported storm conditions with waves up to two metres high, but no one in the group was wearing a wetsuit or a lifejacket."

That's really incredible -- I can't think of any "experienced" kayaker that I know of that would paddle without submersion protection and a PFD.

Sad, but it's obvious that this could have had a much better outcome had these people been wearing safety gear (and perhaps shown better judgement about going out in what were clearly dangerous conditions).

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:40 pm 
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I just watched the video on CBC and you know what?
It may sound like I'm an idiot, but somehow I don't feel sorry--this was just plain dumb.

Hope everyone learned a lesson from that.

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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:11 pm 
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I knew Richard professionally, and he lives just up the street from me. I just found out he was a victim a few minutes ago. Its hard to believe he would be without a life jacket - but stranger things have happened. He was a super guy, dedicated so much of his time and efforts working on the things he was passionate about (mountain biking).

This probably isn't a good place to put a tribute to him, but it's hard to think poorly of him when he's done so much for me, even just last week.

R.I.P Richard, we'll miss you and your spirit


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:11 pm 
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the cbc report has been updated:

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columb ... ml?ref=rss

very, very tragic that 2 top athletes didn't make it.

it is possibly understandable that they would not be wearing life jackets or wetsuits as they are elite athletes on a training mission - and rowers and other paddle sport athletes also do not (and should not) wear water exposure clothing during training, but i just feel sick that they obviously didn't even have rudimentary backups or procedures for the difficult situation they saw before them and intentionally entered into.

mind numbing to hear that one of the yaks paddled away.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:33 pm 
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It is always sad when you loose a good friend, It happened to me last week.
I think I know how you feel right now Houston.


But I still don't get why anyone, doesn't matter how good they think they are, will go out in 85km'h wind and 7' waves without wearing a wetsuit and/or pfd...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:13 pm 
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andreas wrote:
But I still don't get why anyone, doesn't matter how good they think they are, will go out in 85km'h wind and 7' waves without wearing a wetsuit and/or pfd...

In all extreme sports there is a element of danger or death, but you just can't ignore basic safety. I could see them not wearing a suit or pfd in calm summer weather, but under those conditions.... So sad.

It always takes a tragity to make people think. I ride a sportbike and to make a long story short, I had to drag a dead mangled body from under a 5 ton truck this summer, not something you ever want to experience.


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Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:18 pm 
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These 2 guys get my respect for being active in a truly awesome sport and having the guts to push the limits. The very,very poor judgement that lead to their deaths won't change that.
RIP


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:24 am 
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More tragic news. I don't think any degree of foolishness or oversight deserves consequences such as this, but it is an eye opener for the rest of us. Hopefully some good will come of it - i.e. the realization that paddling really can have risks associated with it and that gears and skill are essential (and yes, judgement is certainly a skill!).

I'm always cognisant of anyone being labelled as 'experienced'. One who has paddled every weekend for the last 4 years would certainly have lots of experience. But if all of their experience is staying upright in benign conditions, that experience (despite fitness or strength) does not necessarily equate to skill. Thus, being a skilled paddler can be far different than being an experienced paddler or even a 'strong' paddler - perhaps that distinction needs to be made more clearly.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:40 am 
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Mark wrote: I'm always cognisant of anyone being labelled as 'experienced'. One who has paddled every weekend for the last 4 years would certainly have lots of experience. But if all of their experience is staying upright in benign conditions, that experience (despite fitness or strength) does not necessarily equate to skill. Thus, being a skilled paddler can be far different than being an experienced paddler or even a 'strong' paddler - perhaps that distinction needs to be made more clearly.

Well said. It would be a real job training the media to recognize and use the distinction between having experience versus possessing skill. It extends to many other aspects of life: hiking/climbing, traveling on isolated roads (viz, the sad case of the Kim family, of two winters ago, down in SW Oregon), etc.

In the case of many of the folks I paddle with down here, a slow to develop skill is the ability to recognize potentially dangerous conditions in the development stage.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 9:45 am 
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I watched the CTV version of the incident this morning and heard that all of the paddlers were wearing life vests but that none of them had donned wetsuits. The link below appears to confirm this.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20071009/kayak_071009/20071009?hub=TopStories

It's unfortunate that the strongest paddler in the group chose not to speak out more vociferously about his concern for the rough conditions. Regardless, it was a tragic event. :(

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 11:36 am 
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rider wrote:
These 2 guys get my respect for being active in a truly awesome sport and having the guts to push the limits. The very,very poor judgement that lead to their deaths won't change that.
RIP


Agreed, my condolences to the families.

I paddle some Tuesday nights with the race crowd down at Deep Cove.
A different mentality develops around racers in risk and gear. You train with not much gear paddling flat out, and a safety boat in the background somewhere. It's not uncommon to get wet, but you get back in and keep going. Anything that retains too much body heat is unfortunately out of place in this environment. One can see how this tragic scenario could unfold...

The lessons here are self evident. I'm with Rider, let's remember two guys who were not part of the half that lives on the couch for their spirit.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:40 pm 
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Darwin award candidates i'd say.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:54 pm 
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How unfortunate.
I don't see the 'Darwin' in this though.
The discussions here on skill and experience are valuable ones.
It sounds like there may have been many contributing factors and mistakes here, but getting too judgemental helps no one.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:07 pm 
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Woodensoul's description of how these racers operate in a race, which has a safety boat, seems a reasonable way to go. But, I think taking on Howe Sound, under-equipped for a self-supported crossing, truly is an unjustified risk -- because their actions impact others: their rescue was costly, and risky to the rescuers. Inasmuch as that might be interpreted as making a judgment on their behavior, so be it.

I respect their right to take risks, and would not encumber that right. However, it is also important for the rest of us to learn from their errors. Frank discussion of what happened is critical to our learning, even if some feelings get bruised a bit.

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:17 pm 
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From what I've read, there are conflicting reports whether or not they were wearing PFDs. Some say they were, some they weren't. Personally, I'd never paddle in conditions like those reported on purpose, and certainly not without a PFD and drysuit. I'd like to think that if the conditions caught me offguard, I'd hole up on shore and wait it out.

woodensoul wrote:
You train with not much gear paddling flat out, and a safety boat in the background somewhere.

This is what struck me as odd; it seems evident these folks were training (perhaps purposefully seeking the extreme weather)...why did they not have an escort boat following in those conditions in case of emergency? Perhaps the fact there were 3 or 4 (again, conflicted information in the reports) kayaks in the group, they had a false sense of security that they could handle a rescue.

Either way, you never want to hear someone losing their life unnecessarily. My condolences to the families...


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:54 pm 
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They were wearing lifejackets according to a recent news report.

Both victims were male and " in shape " likely they tended toward having low bodyfat which makes you get hypothermic quicker.

They were foolish not wearing at least a wetsuit in those conditions. Just think but for a $100.00 wetsuit each and those guys would still be alive.


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