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Ottertooth Forums * Off-topic * Archive through November 1, 2010 * Over the Falls * Archive through October 11, 2008 < Previous Next >

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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 143
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 4, 2008 - 7:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I just finished reading Brians story of the men over the falls. don't be afraid of requesting the Air Ambulance. Remember you are in a remote location but in this situation the victims were only a 20 minute flight from the Sudbury ER. Head injuries, hypothermia, even broken limbs can be very serious. Don't take a chance, and believe me the helicopter has been dispatched for much less.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 969
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 4, 2008 - 7:54 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Are you suggesting that Matt McKean, the Keewaydin guide, could have called 911 directly and requested the Air Ambulance? What criteria does that service use to justify responding to a call? Wouldn't they contact the OPP first?

And where would it have landed? I thought you had strict rules requiring designated landing sites.
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 595
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 9:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Bush Pilot:
I have often wondered about Brian's question also. Could you please elaborate on landing requirements....

Most of your machines seem to have wheels instead of skids which must tighten the landing requirements.

In this instance, the nearest open area is on the sandbar located at the junction of the Obabika and the Sturgeon Rivers. I can't recall if there is sufficient flat rock there to provide a stable pad and the downdraft might create a sandstorm.....
The next big open area at Lower Goose Falls, about 30 minutes by canoe, would have offered a solid pad covered with grass and may have sufficed.
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 144
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 10:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian
Yes Matt could have called 911 directly, it sounds like there was a possible head injury and/or hypothermia, in either case let the 911 dispatcher make the call. We don't do searches (usually)that is for the military and OPP but in this case there were two potential patients at a known location.
As far as landing sites are concerned anything goes as long as there is day light. Ed, the sandbar would be an easy spot to land and the sand is probably very moist so the sandstorm is not much of an issue, gravel pits can be very dry but we will still land, we just have to be careful. If you ever do need the amubulance make sure there are no loose items about including canoes, they fly really well for a short period of time but the landings are very ugly! If someone is seriously injured the most important thing is to get the medics to the patient so they can start treatment. We don't necessarily have to land, if we can get one wheel on the ground the medics will get out. I've had the medics get off on the dock at Keewaydin, we were only able to get one wheel on due to the diving tower. I've also landed on the small rocky island in front of Langskib, we can get into some pretty tight spots. The medics have even jumped out from a low hover into shallow water. BTW the medics are very skilled, every year a North American competion is held and Ontario medics almost always win.
Directions are always an issue, Lat and Long coordinates from a GPS are perfect but failing that be as specific as you can. Giving the dispatcher the name of the lake or river is not enough, what part of the lake, northside, island at east end etc. It is much easier for you to see us than us to see you so make yourself conspicious, wave a paddle, or bright life jacket. Finally don't assume you are alone, a couple of years ago we flew along the Sturgeon river looking for a boys group, the problem was there were 5 different groups in that general area and no one was waving. We almost ran out of fuel and daylight because no one was signaling, precious time was lost as we slowly hovered along checking each group. The boys assumed since we flew overhead that they had been found so they didn't signal, they were in the trees and we couldn't see them. They had no idea the other groups were nearby so they didn't feel the need to signal us.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 971
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 11:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Great info to have.

In this case, Matt had two problems: he couldn't make the call from the injury site, and the injured refused treatment. Would you have gone if he had called from Wawiagama Lake and wasn't with the injured anymore and couldn't help you land? Would you have gone knowing the injured refused medical help?
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 145
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 12:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

This is an interesting call, normally if the patient refuses treatment we don't go, however if Matt felt the patient truly had a head injury and due to the remote location then the dispatcher might decide to send the helicopter. I suspect Matt would have to make a pretty good case regarding the head injury, a tough call for him to make. Also we certainly could have landed at Wawiagama and asked him for directions to the patient.
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 973
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 4:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Would you have taken Matt to the site if there was a hike to the victim and you needed his help to find him?

A hypothetical case: the victims used their own phone, one was injured, the second wasn't, and their canoe was destroyed. Would you evacuate the second person along with the injured paddler?
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 146
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 4:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Yes to both.
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micmac
Member

Post Number: 46
Registered: 12-2005


Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 3:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

This has ben a valuable conversation to have.
As someone who often leads trips with inexperienced paddlers, I've often wondered what the policies/guidelines are in respect to evacuation.

Thanks

Mike
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 975
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 6:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Satellite phones do not connect with 911. Is there a local or 800 number to call for Air Ambulance?
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allan_jacobs
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 8:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Can someone please elaborate on the statement that the falls is not marked on Hap Wilson's map?
I guess I'm asking for two things:
1. the location of the falls, and
2. the page number of the relevant map in Hap Wilson's book, namely the map that doesn't show the falls.
Regards, Allan
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hillbilly
Member

Post Number: 344
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 9:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Allen,
I do not have Hap's book in front of me but I have canoed the Obabika River 3 times and I know the falls is marked in his book and it also is printed that the falls is not to be run. The only campsites on the river is also at the portage around the falls on both sides of the river, although I think Hap's book only mentions the campsite on the west side or right side going down river. You can hear the falls about a hundred yards before you get to it.

Bill

(Message edited by hillbilly on October 7, 2008)
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allan_jacobs
Member

Post Number: 2
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 11:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Thanks, Bill, that checks with what I have for Hap Wilson's Route #2, map on page 45 of the 1988 (4th) printing.
I'm assuming here that the falls is the one marked as lying 400 to 500 yards above the Obabika-Sturgeon confluence. It's roughly in the middle of the 975 yard portage on river left; there's a campsite (not a large one) at the beginning of the portage, marked "old camp".
Regards, Allan
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doublebend
Member

Post Number: 22
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 1:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

I'm a bit confused here.

Bill, are you saying there are portages on both sides of the river near the falls, or campsites on both sides of the river?

Allan, the portage you describe is one I've walked many times and camped on once, but it very definitely lies on the left side of the river when traveling downstream (river-left). There are campsites (small, and pretty buggy) at both ends of this trail.

Incidentally, there are other camping spots on the Obabika, but they're not particularly good, nor are they easy to locate from the river. I know of one on river-right about a kilometer or two upstream from the mouth of the Wawiagama (I used the crapper there this spring), and another at an old lumber camp I've eaten lunch at on river-left below the Wawiagama. Can't remember if it's above or below the bridge, but think I have it marked on a map or in my GPS.

DoubleBend
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allan_jacobs
Member

Post Number: 3
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 6:58 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

OOPS!!
The portage is marked on river LEFT!
I don't know where I got the other from.
Brian: Please go in there and change it.
Regrets for the blunder.
Allan
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brian
Moderator

Post Number: 977
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 11:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Allan, fixed.
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hillbilly
Member

Post Number: 345
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 1:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I maybe the one confused. I was thinking that this happened further north about 2 hours south of the mouth of the obabika River.
Yes the other falls is near the Sturgeon.

Bill
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allan_jacobs
Member

Post Number: 4
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 4:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Brian: THANKS!
Bill: The consensus is that it happened about 400 m above the Sturgeon confluence.
All: I gotta 'fess up and say that I haven't paddled that river; I have to rely on others for the location of the falls.
Great information about getting help; hope that stuff gets posted somewhere more conspicuous.
Regards, Allan


(Message edited by allan_jacobs on October 8, 2008)
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barbara
Member

Post Number: 32
Registered: 06-2004


Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 6:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I posted a larger version of this map over on CCR....



This is the area of the incident? The falls marked on the map just above the letter K in the word Park?

Information obtained from the map:

Latitude/Longitude:
Degrees, Minutes, Seconds: 46 57' 50" N 80 26' 29" W
Decimal Degrees: 46.964 N 80.442 W
UTM Coordinates: 17T 542479 5201302
Topographic Map Sheet Number: 041I16



Barbara
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 596
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 - 7:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I have posted 3 pics #138,139,140 of the Obabika Falls on the CCR Gallery in the Ontario Routes Section.
Go to:

http://gallery.myccr.com/displayimage.php?pos=-198 4

The pictures were taken in early May 2007 and might give us some idea as to what these guys encountered when they went over the Falls.
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bush_pilot
Member

Post Number: 147
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2008 - 9:08 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

The number to call is 1-888-310-1122 which is the OPP 24 hour emergency #. Ask the OPP to contact the Sudbury or North Bay ambulance dispatch centre and go from there. Cumbersome I know but what can you do. You may also want to contact the sat phone service provider and maybe they can help you contact the ambulance dispatch and bypass the the OPP.
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alscool
Moderator

Post Number: 167
Registered: 02-2004


Posted on Friday, October 10, 2008 - 8:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

Write that number on the inside of your canoe in indelible marker !
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kayamedic
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, October 10, 2008 - 1:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

Better yet your PFD in case you can't get to your canoe..

and in your ditch kit with the phone.
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boat129
Member

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2008
Posted on Friday, October 10, 2008 - 4:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post

I was there right after matty this summer. The boat was at the bottom but no sign of the men or the dog. Just a pair of crocs hanging on the tree with blood on them. That portage trail needs a better marker in the start, with a sign that says DANGER FALLS!! Im a whitewater guy when Im not in a canoe and the last thing I would ever want to do is swim Obabika falls. Those genteman and the dog had a angel on there side that day. Ive done that trip two summers in a row only going up the obabika tho and I can see it being hard to find anything, there are tape markers all over the place on that creek!!
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ed
Moderator

Post Number: 597
Registered: 03-2004


Posted on Saturday, October 11, 2008 - 9:07 am:   Edit Post Delete Post

The first time I went down Obabika River was in August 1999. I remember the trip pretty vividly. I had camped at the first small Falls, along with 2 of my children, where the lumber camp was located. We then headed downstream from there, intending to make Lower Goose Falls on the Sturgeon by the end of the day.
Obabika is one of those rivers that meanders all over the place and it is impossible to know exactly where you are as you travel along. There are some topographical land marks along the way, that you can navigate by, but that was about it, before GPS was widely available, as it is today.
On my first trip, it was a hot, lazy summer day and after hours of paddling, one becomes lulled by the monotony of the river. We missed the portage take-out, by the small screened in building where the lumber camp used to be and proceeded downstream, much as the people who went over the Falls this August did. The main difference being that in late August that year the water levels were their more normal Summer low and as we paddled along we got caught up in the rapids above the Falls which woke me up from my daydream and made me realize my mistake. I don't recall hearing any particular amount of noise from the Falls and I think in this area by the Falls, the river is quite narrow, and has lots of trees right along the shore line. The river bed drops off significantly at the Falls and then widens out into the drop basin just before entering the Sturgeon. A slight breeze coming from the upstream direction would reduce a fair bit of the noise that would alert you to the danger.
In our case we were able to turn around and paddle back upstream to locate the portage landing, which at that time was marked only by a very short piece of faded orange tape.

The last time I was through there was in May 2007, travelling downstream from Wawiagama in early May and then back upstream about 3 weeks later. At that time the portage take-out was bristling with 3 or 4 long pieces of yellow tape and a portage sign as well. The small yellow portage sign, nailed to an overhanging Alder was not particularly visible, but the tape streamers were very visible.

If all of that was in place this past August, it would have been hard to miss.

If someone has removed it, because it clutters up their notion of wilderness ambience, then they may have inadvertently put people's lives at risk.

I do think that one of the answers to this particular area, as well as the entrance to Wawiagama River off the Obabika, and the small chute on the upper part of the river by the other lumber camp, is for someone to collect and publish the GPS locations. One can measure the GPS location of the Wawiagama River entrance from the topo map and use that, but the location of the lumber camp(s) is not so evident from the map.

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