Whitewater rafting - Near miss Rafting on the Bregenzerach

Seventy-four clients from two different rafting companies started their rafting tour on the Bregenzerach in Langenegg on the 28.08.2010. By the Alberschwende Hydroelectric power station weir, eight from the nine rafts flipped. This resulted in twelve from the clients having to be rescued by the emergency services and one person being flown by helicopter to hospital.

239 personal from the emergency services where mobilized for the search and rescue effort. The ambulance service arrived with 16 vehicles, 70 personal and four emergency doctors on scene. The water rescue were involved with 55 personal, eight vehicles and three boats

Could something like this happen on your tour?


What would you do in the same situation, if all the rafts in font of you flipped?


Near misses like this show us that problems can always happen on the river, and that they can always be worse than expected. Especially at the beginning of the season, we should think again about how prepared we are for problems like this one - a multiple flip situation.

Naturally the best thing is to re-flip your raft and get all your clients back into your boat as quickly as possible. When all the guides do the same then the problem is already solved, (maybe there are a few paddles still to pick up) but what about when this doesn't happen? How much space do you have for other clients in your raft? What would you do if one client is missing?

Having already prepared a plan for situations like this makes it much easier and quicker to implement a rescue. Just having a plan helps, but it is much better if guides also train for these "worse case" situations in order to react correctly in the heat of the moment.

Wishing everyone a well prepared and safe 2011 rafting season.