Don't Croak on the River
The Hoosier Canoe and Kayak Club
No one knows what prompted 25-year-old Ethan and his girlfriend to paddle the swollen White River in Indianapolis IN on February 14, 2009. Ethan was a survivalist and a canoeist and taught classes on the subject. The river was receding from flood stage but still flowing fast as the couple was about to complete their 6-mile paddle. Then tragedy struck as they were trying to negotiate the takeout. The fast current took them into a debris field/strainer and capsized their boat, trapping and ultimately sending Ethan downstream. His girlfriend, miraculously, was able to swim to shore. Ethan’s body was not discovered until Easter Sunday, 2 months later. Perhaps a temporary lapse of judgment or over confidence played a part in this tragedy. (We cannot judge). Maybe wearing a life jacket or dressing for the water would have made a difference. (We will never know) … This was a terrible outcome. But isn’t that what an accident is: an unintentional outcome followed by a hopeful solution? Well, that’s what the Hoosier Canoe and Kayak Club thought when we heard this heartbreaking story: “Let’s be part of the solution” so that no other person becomes part of the story. The club organized a safety committee and began brainstorming ways to deliver water safety materials to the public. We reached out to the Runnels’ family to show our support and to help, in some way, to alleviate many preventable accidents on the water. The family offered to help fund this educational safety effort, while a very talented young Herron art school student authored the collaborative design effort with her fanciful and humorous art. What resulted was some serious teaching materials presented in a playful depiction of how NOT to ‘Croak on the River.’ We learned only after his death, that Ethan would have enjoyed the playful artistry of this poster, as his students commented how he always injected humor in his survivalists’ teachings. We can only assume that Ethan may have been channeling through our safety committee to help create our poster…We will continue to invigorate our educational campaign. This poster is not copyrighted. Copies are available to interested parties to help promote paddling safety, as long as poster is left in its original format and providing credit to the Hoosier Canoe and Kayak Club.
Citation: The Hoosier Canoe and Kayak Club. (2017). Don't Croak on the River. In: Avramidis S. (Ed.). Conference on Near-Death Experiences while Drowning (p. 28). Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA: International Swimming Hall of Fame.
More here: https://drowningnde.blogspot.com/p/lectures.html