As many of your know, our blog has a bit of an informal ban on posting articles about paddling deaths. The reason is simple; if we were to focus on the 10 headlines about some sort of accident or drowning from around the world that I read just this morning, I would give up on paddling really fast.
Accidents happen all the time and it focusing on them can
quickly paint a picture that canoe or kayaking is an extreme sport where you
are facing death at any turn. We all know that statistically, that isn't the
Today, I decided to break that ban and post a portion of a news
article about testimony at the corners inquest into the drowning of Billie
Clayton in Wales.
Why you might ask? Read the article, it will break your heart.
During the testimony her
father Ian Clayton, a British TV announcer, recounted his agonizing,
split-second, decision - which of his 9-year-old twins to save - when their
canoe capsized in violent rapids during what should have been an idyllic family
"Should I go for
the one I can see and hope that later I can find the one I can't see? In the
end I went for the one I could see," Clayton, 48, told an inquest panel
into Billie's death, which happened on April 12, 2006, in Wales.
The father's decision
to help Edward to safety was all the more wrenching because of his young son's
words: "Save my sister first."
"It's hard to
understand what was going through that little lad's mind for him to say
that," Clayton said
The inquest forced
Clayton to relive a decision that is any parent's darkest nightmare.
"What twin to go
for?" said Clayton, speaking through tears. "Sometimes I dream that I
saved Billie instead. I will never know if I made the right decision.
Once he had pulled his
son to safety, Clayton was able to call an ambulance, and paramedics advised
him not to jump back in to look for his daughter in the raging water. "I
was frightened to jump back in there," he said. "I will admit it. I'm
not sure if I would have if that woman hadn't told me not to."
"It is such a
tragedy and people say that tragedy gets better with time. But it doesn't. The
pain is still the same today, two years and two months after."
More info: nydailynews.com
Real life father recounts own horrific 'Sophie's Choice' after accidentTuesday, 17 June 2008
As many of your know, our blog has a bit of an informal ban on posting articles about paddling deaths. The reason is simple; if we were to focus on the 10 headlines about some sort of accident or drowning from around the world that I read just this morning, I would give up on paddling really fast...
David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.