Date of Incident: July 26, 1998
Section of River: Labyrinth
Location on River: Island at Mile 41.5 near Fort Bottom
Relative Flow: N/A
Gage Reading: N/A
Difficulty: Flat Water
Type of Incident: Jumping
Injuries: Broken Leg
Type of Trip: Private
Type of Boat: N/A
At 13:15 an eleven year old girl was jumping four vertical feet from a sand bank into the river. She was a member of a party of seven in three canoes at the island in Fort Bottom (Mile 41.5). As she made her final leap the bank gave way, and she lost her balance. She landed in an awkward position, breaking her left leg in two places. Another member of the party crossed the river and hiked 12 miles to Mineral Bottom where the incident was reported to the BLM Ranger at 19:03. A medical Helicopter was summoned and the girl and her father were evacuated at 20:58. Although not pertinent to the accident, but germane to the subject of safety, it should be noted that the victim was wearing a life jacket. The depleted group was unable to continue its trip, and the members were transported from the canyon by Park Rangers.
Because they are vertical, cut sand banks appear stable when in reality they are not. One has only to watch them crumble from the waves of a passing boat to recognize their fragility. It is unsafe to stand on the brinks of high banks or to sit beneath them.