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Drowning at Foster Falls


Original Post
Jason Eberhard · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 48

http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/35586122/one-person-drowns-at-foster-falls 

Condolences to friends,family, and those involved.  I really don't understand how this could happen there, especially on a Sunday when so many people should have been around.  Any climbers in the area when this happened?

JSH · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 960

It's helpful to learn that drowning doesn't look like drowning.  "Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life."

Russ Keane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 140

So many people/tourists hike there.... Likely not a climber.   I heard you can deep water solo this, is that correct?

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,348
JSH wrote:

It's helpful to learn that drowning doesn't look like drowning.  "Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for is rarely seen in real life."

Indeed. I spend a fair amount of time in the water and have been through a few rescue swimmer and lifeguard trainings, and I can say that very few people understand how drowning works. Some 80% of children that die in the water do so with adult supervision in the immediate area. I'm talking the kid is in the pool and dad is on the BBQ only 15 feet away. Usually when someone is drowning, they are prominently under water or choking on water and unable to yell for help. As such, to the untrained eye it can appear at quick glance that they dont need assistance.

Further, a lot of people fail to understand the potentially serious risks involved with fast moving water and ocean currents. Rip currents probably account for the most deaths in the ocean, largely not because they are truly that dangerous (surfers use them to get out to sea all the time) but because people dont understand what they are and how to escape them. Many parents fail to understand the rather serious risks in strong shorebreak and undertow. A strong undertow can easily sweep a child from foot-deep water to heavy surf in 10 feet of water in under three seconds. It can even sweep a 300-pound man right out to sea if the undertow is strong enough (and often it is).

Even if someone does notice that another person is drowning and attempts to help, it can result in a serious situation for both people. When someone is panicking in the water (called an active victim) and you swim to help them, the first thing they are going to do is jump right on you with an absolute death grip. All they know is they need air and you're a flotation object so they will use you for flotation without a second thought. If you dont know how to get out of a situation like that, it can go south quickly. This is less of an issue with kids because they simply dont have the mass to overpower an adult, but it's common with adult rescues.

As far as how it could have happened "especially on a Sunday when so many people should have been around?" Well, several people tried to assist according to the news report. The main guy sounded like he almost died as well. Like I said, rescuing an active victim in the water is not as easy as most people think. A lot of people think it's as simple as jumping in, swimming over to them, grabbing them by the hand or whatever and then towing them to shore. They will find out quickly it's more complicated than that when the victim jumps on them.

This is a good demonstration: youtube.com/watch?v=rYxrezE…

Most importantly, RIP to the victim and his family. It’s never easy losing someone from the community, regardless of the reason.

Chris Fedorczak · · Portland, OR · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Very helpful info on drowning. Thanks.

Just out of curiosity, is the waterfall at FF in full force? The only times I've been out there were during droughts when the falls, pool, and river were barely moving. 

I guess we have no idea if something else happened either (heart attack, head trauma, can't swim, etc.).

Cat Wynns · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 2 hours ago · Points: 0
Jason Eberhard wrote:

http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/35586122/one-person-drowns-at-foster-falls 

Condolences to friends,family, and those involved.  I really don't understand how this could happen there, especially on a Sunday when so many people should have been around.  Any climbers in the area when this happened

 Jason, a lot of people were around and his friends & mine did EVERYTHING they could to help :) I also performed CPR on him and attended to his friend, who was in severe shock. I was on the rocks when I realized something felt wrong... he had been under for minutes because they could not find his body at first. They pulled him out and compressions were immediately started and I told someone to call 911/EMS. We worked on him for at least 30 mins, if not way more. His friends refused to give up, so we did EVERYTHING we could until EMS arrived. We did compressions for so long that at one point, while I was giving him mouth-to-mouth, I got his vomit/lake-water in my mouth b/c we had pressed for long on his sternum.This fluid that (literally flew into my mouth mid rescue breath) is common in non-drowning victims when the breaths are too long (proper technique is 2 seconds), which can cause victims to aspirate (choke on their own vomit). I asked the paramedics about that too. I did do the CPR correctly, but it's also extremely normal, when there's fluid in the thoracic cavity (lungs), for compressions to move fluid(s) around. Also, upon death muscles/organs start to relax, causing all sorts of fluids to be released.I talked to the paramedics for a really long time explaining what I observed and what I did because I wanted to ensure I did everything correctly; but, I also wanted to ensure there was nothing else better I could have done. They said I did everything correctly, but due to the timing of how long he was under he was sadly gone before compressions were even started. I went though the ABCs (in trauma you first look at and secure: airway, breathing, and circulation) and sadly all 3 were enabled prior to even starting compressions. His friends must have loved him dearly because we worked on him for well after 30 mins with no signs of life. They never gave up though. They were amazing. His friend almost lost his life trying to save him too. I had to keep that friend conscious, so we talked about his 5 month old pregnant wife. That friend was around and tried. One of their friends was also a firefighter. I am also CPR/first aid certified and studying to do ER/Trauma medicine (currently a sophomore in college). Everyone there tried to do something. I helped until the very last second: I assisted the paramedics with putting him in the body bag. My friends helped paramedics carry him up the hill to the ambulance. I can still hear his friend chanting "common Richie." Him and his friends, especially the one in shock, have been in my deepest prayers since the incident. Going into the medical field I know deeply (and sadly) so understand why you do everything even if it seems unnecessary - when you look at someone and say their love one is gone, you want to be able to say confidently say everything was tried and attempted. All that was possible to be beneficial and helpful, was done. You did everything you possibly could. 

***I share this bc everyone should be CPR certified and should understand what to do, should a life threatening situation arise. It might save your own life, or even better someone else's life.*** Again, my deepest prayers and condolences go to this young man's family and friends. Just watching his friends trying to help and NEVER giving up, just showed how deeply loved and adored this man was. God gained a truly loved person that day in heaven. This tragic event caused me to realize I so badly want to do ER/Trauma nursing to (medically) help those in their most desperate time of need. More importantly, it brought meaning to the phrase "in the blink of an eye:" Life is so precious and so valuable that when it is lost, there is a ripple effect of sadness that follows it. I share this to encourage others to understand how valuable life is, which hopefully further encourages people to take a CPR/first aid class. Again, this young mans' family and friends have been in my deepest prayers and thoughts. He was surround by his friends who did EVERYTHING they possibly could have.  -Sincerely, Cat Wynns 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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