Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

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Poke
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Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by Poke » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:39 pm

Saw this video on facebook the other day.



Say you find yourself in the situation at about ~30 seconds into the video (i.e. you've not broken out upstream).
What do you do...

(... and from about 1:15, how do you get your mate out?)

No criticism sought of the guys in the video, just interested in what people's thoughts are from a WWSR point of view!
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Re: Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by DButler » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:26 pm

I actually had this happen a few years ago when I was guiding out in the Alps. Fortunately we spotted it in time, and portaged.

I think the team had a great try of getting their friend out - They could have tried pulling from multiple angles. This is so often forgotten, but can change the forces, allowing a swifter rescue.
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Re: Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by jmmoxon » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:24 am

We were paddling the Briançon Gorge (Durance) in France. It's a very calm and beautiful river. Two friends and I were the last ones of the group. Suddenly without any warning a jet of high pressured water came out of an hole in the wall and created an huge whirlpool which sucked everything towards the middle of the river. Passing it didn't work so we tried paddling towards an eddy which wasn't possible either. All three of us flipped over and found ourselves inbetween strong currents. One of the others and me made it to land quickly and noticed that our mate was still struggling. He was able to catch the throwing bag but still got pulled under water multiple times. After several turns around the whirlpool he finally got floated to shore. Luckily noone was seriously injured. Stay safe!

Link to rivermap with the exact location: https://www.rivermap.ch/map.html#inf=...
Full link is on the youtube page.

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Re: Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by garya » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:43 pm

The thing that struck me is that the guy rescuing was fortunate enough to have a small throwline on him when he got out and rescued the swimmer with this. All the boats where gone at this stage. Most people carry throwlines in their boats, which would have not been available to use in this scenario.

Is there a benefit to carrying a small waist mounted throwline on quick release belt ?

Are manufacturers producing flatter profile throwline bags designed for waist mounting that would give paddlers a safer cleaner profile and better movement when wearing them ?

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Re: Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by Strad » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:13 pm

garya wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:43 pm

Is there a benefit to carrying a small waist mounted throwline on quick release belt ?

Yes, but you will get burnt at the stake by the 'run clean / it's a snag hazard brigade' - it's a marmite subject.
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Re: Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:59 pm

Some advocate wearing a smallish throw line on a belt but under their spray-deck waist tube which limits its 'snagginess' (not easy to quick release from there?). As a canoeist I usually wear a throwline on a QR belt.

Whetman Orosi and HF Little Fish are square, flat bags.

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Re: Briancon Gorge power plant incident - what would you do?

Post by Notters » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:16 pm

Interesting question. Mild panic would probably be my first reaction. We’ve been in there where I’ve noticed a slight increase with the levels.
Good point well made with throw bags in boats. I do carry a big length of tape in my BA, it’s probably about 6m and packs down neat when rolled up. Guess that would help.
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