Kayaker dies after Green River accident

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KING COUNTY — Two kayakers were pulled out of the fast-moving Green River Sunday afternoon.

One of the kayakers, a 45-year-old Seattle woman, died at a King County hospital Monday after spending much of the night in critical condition. The other was uninjured, officials said.

According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, the 45-year-old woman went through a difficult run and lost her way. She plunged into the water for several minutes. Friends kayaking near her were able to get the woman out, but realized she wasn’t breathing. She was taken to the hospital.

Minutes later, a first-time kayaker was heard calling for help. Emergency personal arrived on the scene, but the man was able to pull himself to the shore.

Emergency personal said a helmet, life-jacket and always kayak in a group. According to more than one experienced kayaker, the Green River is not for novice sportsman. Especially after heavy rain and fast snowmelt.

River“It’s right at the max level where if you get any higher, it’s not runable,” kayaker Chris Ammons said. “You just don’t want to even go out. We’ve had a lot of rain the past few days and river flow has really picked up.”

King County Sheriff’s Deputy Charlie Akers issued a warning to all enthusiasts thinking of braving a raging rivers.

“We just ask people to think about it before you go out for the joyride, that adrenaline rush, really think about it because bad things do happen,” Akers said.

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  • John

    I would disagree about the interviewees assertion that the water level on Sunday was bordering on "Unrunnable". The green regularly get run at levels higher, the high end of recommended water level for the run to be consider still a Class III-IV run is 4000 CFS, follow the link and click the flow tab to see recommended water levels. http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/d

    For experience class V kayakers the gorge regularly gets run above 5000 cfs and as high as 8500 cfs. Keep in mind that skill level plays heavily into the perceived runnability of whitewater.

    Sunday's water level would be considered a medium water level in the Green river gorge.

    My condolences go out to all those involved with the rescue and friends and family. Losing a friend while recreating is very difficult and I Hope the best for the family while they grieve.

  • Oscar

    I agree with John. At 2880, which were Saturdays and Sunday's flow, is when the Green River is just barely starting to get really good. One of my most memorable flows was at 3900. I was there Saturday with probably 10 other boaters and we had a blast. Everyone was safe.
    But, I must admit, I have never known a river to take so many lives. It seems like every year you can count on someone dying and it's not always kayakers. So, when I take people down the Green, I make sure to let them know of the dangers.