• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)


    National Park Utah

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Some unpaved roads are closed

    Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »

  • Safety in Bear Country

    Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »

  • New backcountry requirements in effect

    Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »

River Incident Report #957004

Date of Incident: May 17, 1995
River: Colorado
Section of River: Cataract Canyon
Location on River: Big Drop Two, Mile 202.3
Relative Flow: Moderate
Gage Reading: 33,900 cubic feet per second
Difficulty: Class IV
Type of Incident: Thrown from boat
Injuries: Drowning
Type of Trip: Commercial
Type of Boat: Raft

Two rafts of a commercial river company were running the Big Drops when one raft, containing a boatman and a 41 year old helper, struck a rock in Big Drop Two. The helper was dislodged from his position and grasped the boatman for security, and as a consequence both men were pitched into the river. The boatman swam to safety, and later reported that his helper bobbed through the rapids making no effort to extricate himself from the water.

The second boat reached the victim near the mouth of Imperial Canyon (Mile 200.1) where a physician administered CPR, and later pronounced him dead. The group was subsequently encountered by the Canyonlands River Patrol which, in separate trips, transported the passengers and the victim to Hite.

In Retrospect
Canyoneers should recognize the danger inherent in navigating Cataract Canyon. That one's life is safer in his living room while watching television than it is while cruising through rapids on the Colorado River is self evident. Even when all known precautions are taken, as in this instance, fortuitous events may occur. The safety record of commercial boating companies in Cataract Canyon is excellent, far better than that of private groups, however, they are not immune to accidents.

Did You Know?

Common Raven

The common raven displays abilities to play and problem-solve rare among animals. This member of the crow family is also very vocal, using a variety of sounds for communication. Perhaps because of these qualities, ravens have achieved a certain stature in both European and Native American folklore. More...