8 Dead as Canoers Sucked into Turbines

You must be the “hear no evil” monkey.

I don’t think anyone likes to post
… morbid stories like this one. Why would anyone like to do that?

correction (I also speak Slovenian)
Thanks for the translation - but here are some corrections:

The trip was apparently organized by the Lord Mayor >and construction company representatives.

This was just a mayor of the local town. Not a “lord”.

The canoes were supplied by some outfitter and the >paddlers were offered PFDs but only two wore them.


It does not look like that any of them were really >experienced.


One of the canoes hit the dam’s pylon before the >rapid and capsized immediately, while ofter canoes >capsized once in the rapid.

One canoe hit a pylon soon after the start of their expedition. This was on another completely unrelated bridge several miles up the river. Its occupants fell into the water, but swam ashore without any danger (no rapids in that section). The rest of the expedition continued the descent and eventually (some half hour later) reached the power plant dam. At that point, there were three canoes still going, with about 20 people on board. In addition, there was an inflatable boat with a few local firemen; they were there to provide rescue service in an event of emergency. There was also a camera crew on the firemen’s boat. This camera crew took the footage that you can find on YouTube. Be warned, footage is quite chilling.

One canoe made it through without incident and that >one became the rescue canoe to others in trouble.

No canoe made it through without incident. One of the three canoes realized that going through the gates was too dangerous, so they pull to the shore and got out of water some five hundred feet above the dam. These people ended up being safe.

The other two canoes kept on going. They thought it was fun, an adventure. They had no idea this was dangerous. It was a power plant still under construction. Four days before, it was still possible to bypass the dam altogether - but by the time of their trip, the construction company already blocked the old river channel. At that point, the only way through was through the gates of the dam. People who organized the trip didn’t know this ahead of time; they basically only realized it on the spot. And at that point they were like, what the heck, let’s just go through, how bad can it be. The firemen in the inflatable boat followed and kept filming them.

And, because the local mayor was also in the canoes (and drowned too), nobody really dared stopping them too much. There were some warnings, but nobody really thought it was dangerous. People trusted the mayor. If it wasn’t for the mayor, there is no way they could have ever even paddled in that section of the river (off limits due to construction). What they wanted to do was to make a “final descent” before the river was permanently blocked by the dam. This mayor was one of the key figures in building this power plant in the first place. What an irony.

They fished the paddlers out of the water one by one >and delivered them to shore or other boat (?) but >some were in bad shape.

Two canoes went through the gates of the dam (separate gates; there are 5 gates on that dam), and both immediately capsized. Strong currents sucked everybody beneath the surface. I don’t want to even think of what happened next to them.

Meanwhile, the firemen in the boat suspected something was wrong, so they descended through one of the gates too, but slowly. They went through a gate nearest to the river bank with slowest currents. And their boat was much flatter and bigger, so luckily for them, they did not capsize. If they did, they would probably all drown too.

When reaching below the dam, they saw people in the rapids, and managed to pull three women out of the water. One survived, two later died in the hospital. Everybody else drowned. Out of 14 people that fell into the rapids, 13 people total are dead. 1 survived - basically a miracle.

One canoe broke in half while the other remained in >one piece but occopants went in the water.


The rescue operation was still undergoing (at time of >interview) with dam levels being dropped to allow >divers recover the bodies.

Correct. However - this was rescue for the bodies. Everybody knows the 13 are dead.

In my opinion it looks like that a whole bunch of >officials wanted to make a “last” descent before the >dam was flooded and lacking experience they bit more >that they could chew.


The lack of PFDs might have contributed to have some >many casualties.

Moral of the story: it’s all fun and games until >somebody drowns. Most likely lack of experience was >the biggest problem.

Lack of experience was a problem - but in this case, they went straight for a trap. Once inside the trap, no experience would help; these were super strong currents. Power plants are designed to keep the water turbulent below the dam; this way they dissipate water’s energy after storms or heavy rain.

thank you for the corrections Nikica
I could not hear over the intial part of the video where the music plays and admittedly I simply quickly listened to the report and summarised it later without reviewing what was said… a bit lousy from my part. Would never make it as a newspaper reporter :slight_smile:

Nikica, did you study Slovenian or is it your mother language?


Some more examples of the danger
and some cool ways to deal with it…




Looks easy to the unaware, but even a small low dam can be deadly. I can’t imagine why the experienced folks in the huge wite water did it though - it’s such a gamble…

The Slovenian folks were clearly unprepared and very few of them had any experience it seems. The safety measures were pretty much ignored - there should have been a team wating for them below the dam, and full safety gear for the paddlers should have been worn. I think the more people see these videos, the better - the danger of the water is so underestimated…