Skip to comments.Boater still missing in swollen Green River--Watersheds running dangerously fast
Posted on 05/05/2010 3:15:54 AM PDT by SLB
Mild temperatures and sunshine made Tuesday nice for walking the banks of Green River, but Ronda Wood and her siblings werent marching the streamside for fun.
Monday evening, Woods brother, 55-year-old Radcliff resident Bobby Atcher, disappeared during a risky, swift-water paddle of Green River with his friend, Gary Tyler.
The pair launched their boats before noon behind a Munfordville school.
They shrugged off a warning from a city police officer trying to convince them not to paddle the river, which was about 30 feet above flood stage when they launched.
One couple even took a photo of the risk-takers as they prepped to launch into the fast-moving muddy water.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the Greens force Monday at more than 50,000 cubic feet per second almost 20 times its normal push.
Four or five hours into the trip, the pair hit a potentially deadly strainer created by a log jam.
Tyler lost his kayak when trees bobbing below the waterline caused him to capsize. That was the last time he glimpsed anything of Atchers blue kayak.
Tyler scratched his way to the top of the log jam, where he pulled a cell phone from a plastic bag then called for help.
Atcher was gone.
According to Wood, it took rescuers about two hours before they found Tyler clinging to the log jam and hauled him to shore.
A search for Atcher commenced, but darkness coupled with deadly currents and high water halted rescue efforts Monday night.
At first light Tuesday the search resumed with a number of boats from Kentuckys Department of Fish and Wildlife, Hart County rescue and local police agencies powering through the swollen river downstream of Munfordville.
Shortly before noon, an aged and worn orange life jacket was found.
Using the photo taken a day earlier for comparison, searchers were confident theyd found the first trace of Atcher.
For Wood, the worn flotation device was a bad sign.
The life jacket was so old and worn that it should not have been used, she said.
It was old, old, Wood said.
A broken zipper on the front made Wood and rescuers wonder if Atcher had busted out of the device after getting stuck on a limb, or if he slipped out because of the broken zipper.
It was a clue, but Wood didnt know if the clue was to good news or bad.
Her Tuesday morning tone of hope soured as she reflected that the life jacket had been found but her brother had not.
A helicopter joined the search Tuesday afternoon and Woods siblings joined her on the banks of Green River looking for Atcher or any sign of the blue kayak hed received for his 50th birthday.
They walked through mud, cow pasture and wheat fields but found nothing additional Tuesday afternoon.
Tyler could not be reached for comment. Wood said the rescued man was physically fine, but distraught mentally.
Mark Marraccini a spokesman for Kentuckys Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, had no details on the search, but confirmed KDFWR took part in multiple water rescues Monday and Tuesday in the wake of heavy rains.
A couple incidents resulted in fatalities, Marraccini said.
Despite warnings from state agencies and news media for motorists and others to use caution around flood waters, numerous people ignored sound advice.
Absolutely stay away from the flood waters, Marraccini said.
“Hold muh beer and watch this!”
Talk about a confusing modifier.
You’d think the folks in WA state would eventually learn the danger of rivers and mountains.
My brother took us kayaking on a nearby river last summer. It was the first time I’d kayaked a river, but having canoed many times when I was younger, I thought nothing of it. The river was at normal stage, but quite full of downed trees and obstructions. We all received an education that day about kayaks and obstructions. My brother was the only one who didn’t flip. My husband and I, and two teenage sons all went into the drink at least once. I was surprised at how fast everything happened, and was a bit shaken by the experience. Flipping in a logjam left me momentarily trapped under the kayak until I could completely free myself and figure out which was was up. Fortunately, I wasn’t too obstructed to get out, but I can easily see how it could happen. We spent a lot of time helping each other chase down escaped kayaks, paddles and hats that day. The power of moving water is awesome, and quite humbling. Having had that experience, I can’t imagine any of us venturing onto a flooded river - sheer lunacy.
This is the Green River in KY.
It appears to be Kentucky rather than Washington. Having been in western Tennessee Thursday through Saturday, I saw some of those flood waters. These guys were taking a huge risk, no matter how experienced they might have been.
More proof against evolution. Those who become learned in hillbilly country learn how to kayak and rock climb, then the natural elements kill them off, leaving a less educated population. It might be a regional thing.
Years ago, fresh out of college, a friend and I took on an ice-cold river overflowing its banks in a 2-man kayak. Almost at our destination after a VERY quick trip, we scraped a log in a bend in the river and flipped.
Without going into details, we survived. I, by just a hair and a prayer, thank God. That day changed the way I thought about life.
I lived on the Shenandoah for a while, and saw many floods. Imagine leaving home and riding a low barge (10x80x 2 foot side rails +/-) down a raging river (NO MOTOR and only rudders fore and aft...) to sell the hides and stuff from your remote isolated home, sell out even the boat wood planks, and then buy a mule, load it with everything you can buy, and walk the 100 miles or so, back home...
Soon to be our way of life again, thanks to Obama's Fedrool Gum't!
What a couple of dumba$$es. I hope they charge the surviving idiot for all the costs.
I can’t imagine living like that. We’ve gotten used to much easier lives than those of our predecessors.
A couple of years a go, I went without electricity for about two months. I walked or rode a bike, paddled a kayak, or stayed home. I was learning a method of keeping alive through the likely coming people storms. I now use a lot of electricity (but not as much as Algore), and a lot of gasoline. It's easier, and faster. But, I know the other way intimately, now.
I am semi-retired, and spend a lot of time in the woods and rivers of WV (and VA, MD, NC, and more). I have seen different flood stages and all have "wild water". That was the only time when they could float the whole way to Harper's Ferry.
I stayed OFF THE RIVER when it got too harsh. I like me...
Ah. Thought it was the Green River in Washington.
Every year, several people drown in major rivers in WA...from just swimming. It never ceased to amaze me when I lived out there.
Oh father won’t you take me back to Mulenberg county
Down by the Green River where Paradise lays
I’m sorry my son but you’re too late in asking
Mr Peabody’s coal trucks done hauled it away
I was born and raised in Muhlenberg County, named after Gen. Peter Muhlenberg, the “Fighting Parson”.
I can appreciate going through the voluntary simplicity as a means of preparing for hard times. We also try to remain somewhat self sufficient and to develop or maintain useful basic skills.
Uh, I think the better educated one lived.
And the even more educated didn’t go at all.
The least educated got eliminated.