Found dead/ trapped upside down

Sorry for the trolling title but this subject seems to “surface” often, or the myth I should say, mainly from non-paddlers and the occasional onlooker at the launch site.

Not counting cold water immersion/ gasp reflexes, can anyone recall a genuine incident where this actually happened?

I don’t recall any Sea Kayaker articles except for some accounts of paddler’s escaping entrapment.

Rosie O’Donnell

Yep, It happened to me once…

Uncle Ernie … Is that you???

I think you may have experienced a
sampling error regarding public opinion. I have not heard such comments.

I do recall an incident where a guy was found upside down in a touring kayak. He had a chronic health problem, and it was surmised that he experienced an exacerbation of this problem which caused him to lose consciousness, flip, and drown. I do not have a link for this event, which I think must have occurred at least 10 years ago, maybe more.

You are safe in assuming that such incidents are rare, but not that they have never happened. I am very tall, long-legged, and I fit tight in kayak cockpits. If I had a heart attack, it is quite possible that my body would not wash loose from the boat.

Tivoli Texas
About 2 years ago a paddler was found dead in his kayak at a boat launch on San Antonio Bay near Tivoli, Tx. It was reported that he was found overturned and “strapped” to his kayak. Because most people in this area are not familiar with touring (sit-inside) kayaks it is quite possible they were referring to a spray skirt. Water temp was probably in the high 60’s at the time. A cold front with high winds came through just a couple of hours before the victim was found. I was never able to get the full details on what kind of kayak the paddler was using and how he was “strapped” to the kayak. The paddler was described as an avid kayaker who had moved to Texas from Minnesota. His origins in Minnesota make me believe there was a good chance he was paddling a touring kayak with a spray skirt. From what I did read about the accident I think there was a chance he may have flipped right at the launch and hit his head on the dock on part of the concrete ramp.

Two incidents in Southern California
in the last year or so. But they eventually became separated from their boats. I think both were believed to be cardiac arrest prior or during capsize. Both were in their 70s I believe.

I met a guy 82 years old today surfing a seakayak in real breaking waves and doing a heck of a job. I hope I’m half as active at least when I am that old.

Not a heart attack in So Cal
At least one of the two incidents in Southern California was not cardiac related. The ME ruled the death as a drowning, but those of us familiar with the situation say that it is more appropriately, drowning as a result of hypothermia.

An article has been written and submitted to Seakayaker Magazine.


– Last Updated: May-20-07 5:30 AM EST –

I want to be shot by a jealous husband on my hundredth birthday. I suppose I could be trapped upside down at the time.

Two that I know of
One happened off Tiverton, RI around 1999 when the paddler was practicing rolling, hit his head on the bottom, and broke his neck. He was dead and still in his boat when help arrived.

The other happened last year in Mansfield, CT when a paddler with severe heart disease died of a heart attack in his kayak. He was found capsized and still in his boat.

One gasp/panic incident
Not as graphic as others mentioned here, but strictly speaking the guy was gone when they got to him. Happened off of Cape Cod some years ago, for whatever reason it appears that he had a gasp response after he capsized. It is within the realm of possibilities that a looser skirt might have made a diff in that case, but his likely panic was the critical factor.

Alaska incident
I recall an incident in the bay near Anchorage AK back in 95 or 96, where a local kayaker rolled and hit his head and never came back up. If I remember, he was an instructor, teaching rolling to a group of students at the time. Made the papers, to say the least.

Movie title?
You mean the movie title?

We get that question from nonpaddlers
We get that question from nonpaddlers all the time. What if you flip over? Won’t you be trapped upside down?

Co-worker asked me that. told her no, we just fall out (nylon skirts on plastic kayaks) Next day she saw a movie where an assassin killed a charactor by flipping the kayak over and holding it while the paddler drowned unable to remove his spray skirt while upside down. Don’t think she trusted anything I had to say after that.

What was the name of that movie??? maybe the Manchurian candadite?? Sorry it’ll come to me around midnight tonight.

The Manchurian Candidate (remake). I believe John Voight was the victim. Clearly, there had been no improvement in his paddling skills since Deliverance.

I remember that
Apparently several people who at least lurk on were out watching them film the scene where Jon Voight drowns upside down. BTW, he is supposed to be an expert kayaker. I forget the name of the film - some kind of intrigue.

The post here said these paddlers were hanging out laughing and rolling, off camera.