Two tandem open-boat canoeists were out for a paddle on the Petawawa River in Ontario’s Algonquin Park, when they ran into trouble.
Gary Ataman and Iori Miller entered one of the more challenging rapids on the river—named “Crooked Chute”—when, moments later, their canoe became pinned and wrapped on a semi-submerged rock.
In the video review of the events, the commentator states that the plan had been to sneak past the big wave trains on the right side of the river. The “uh oh” we hear from the stern paddler, as the paddlers diverge off their intended course and towards the rock, suggests things didn’t go to plan.
Moments later, both paddlers are in the water, desperately hanging on to the canoe as it inevitably fills with water and becomes further stuck against the rock. “Pull, pull!” the rear paddler shouts to the other, nearest the river bank.
Once the bow paddler has his footing on the river bank, he desperately pulls the rope attached to the front of the canoe in an effort to free the boat. “It’s buckling, let’s let go” the other paddler shouts, as they realize they need to stop and reassess.
The commentator then proceeds to explain how they managed to get the canoe out of the water using their pin kit to conduct a “Z Drag” to recover the canoe. Despite a successful rescue attempt (surprisingly, the boat had minimal damage and the folds popped straight back out), it took the crew over three and a half hours to recover the canoe.
The video, produced by the Wilderness Canoe Association, highlights the importance of being prepared for the worst-case scenario. Make sure to carry the appropriate safety gear and equipment, and have adequate knowledge of the area, and the appropriate skill set for the class of water you are accessing.