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Old 13.06.2008, 09:06
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Another Army Accident!

Does anyone else think this smells of negligence?

Swiss info article.


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However according to Knutti, exercises involving boats were not part of the usual training for these soldiers. It is now believed the boating incident happened during a team-building exercise.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:14
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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However according to Knutti, exercises involving boats were not part of the usual training for these soldiers. It is now believed the boating incident happened during a team-building exercise.
I think this may be the root of the problem. People trying to do stuff that they were not trained to do. However, that is just speculation.

Sad for the guys affected and even worse for those they leave behind.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:18
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Sad for the guys affected and even worse for those they leave behind.
Very true.

It just made me wonder. Last years accident was one thing, I believe it was a group trained to be where they were. But this incident seems to be a case where soldiers with no training were sent into a situation they could not handle.

The rivers seem particularly swollen to me at the moment!
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:19
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Does anyone else think this smells of negligence?

Swiss info article.
I was watching the news on SF1 last night. They overflew the river in question, which was filled with weir after weir. One of the rafts was shown still locked in the hydraulic from the weir. This raft was still in the hydraulic hours after the incident.

In my opinion as a former river guide, I would say the the river in question was not navigable. I was shocked that someone would try to run it, let alone with an inexperienced crew.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:25
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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I was watching the news on SF1 last night. They overflew the river in question, which was filled with weir after weir. One of the rafts was shown still locked in the hydraulic from the weir. This raft was still in the hydraulic hours after the incident.

In my opinion as a former river guide, I would say the the river in question was not navigable. I was shocked that someone would try to run it, let alone with an inexperienced crew.
I've done my share of white water kayaking (no rafting) and used to run a lot of team building exercises in a past life. I know if I had set up a team building exercise like that (as has happened off the coast of Wales) and people died I would be spending time in a state sponsored hotel. Its very sad, but it just made me think, that the chances of something like this happening in a professional army would be a lot less. (Clarification: Professional army would be full time active, fitter and used to dealing with situations. Swiss "Toy Soldiers" tend to sit in an office 48 weeks of the year and then go play at being soldiers for a month, or so I believe.).
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Last edited by Eire; 13.06.2008 at 09:28. Reason: Clarification
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:27
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Re: Another Army Accident!

Seen that as well... according to the news, they (river rafters) don't use this part of the river, as it is too dangerous (if I understood correctly). So what should have been a standard situation probably became a catastrophy by not getting information from the locals, but that's pure speculation.. Also, the river was not dangerously swollen apparently...

This has nothing to do with their training per se. I'm sure some of you had business or military trips where you try to get the people to work as a team, in the hope it would transpire in business life... same here. I would not put it in the same category as last years accident.

Shame really.... And I feel for their loved ones and comrades...

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I was watching the news on SF1 last night. They overflew the river in question, which was filled with weir after weir. One of the rafts was shown still locked in the hydraulic from the weir. This raft was still in the hydraulic hours after the incident.

In my opinion as a former river guide, I would say the the river in question was not navigable. I was shocked that someone would try to run it, let alone with an inexperienced crew.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:31
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Seen that as well... according to the news, they (river rafters) don't use this part of the river, as it is too dangerous (if I understood correctly). So what should have been a standard situation probably became a catastrophy by not getting information from the locals, but that's pure speculation.. Also, the river was not dangerously swollen apparently...

This has nothing to do with their training per se. I'm sure some of you had business or military trips where you try to get the people to work as a team, in the hope it would transpire in business life... same here. I would not put it in the same category as last years accident.

Shame really.... And I feel for their loved ones and comrades...
Yes but a well executed team building exercise, gives perceived danger which is well controlled by the people running the exercise. You can not control a group of inexperienced people in white water that trained guides would not do themselves.

I spent quite a long time running team building exercises in a past life, and we would never have done something like this, even though we were a largely water based set up.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:33
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Seen that as well... according to the news, they (river rafters) don't use this part of the river, as it is too dangerous (if I understood correctly). So what should have been a standard situation probably became a catastrophy by not getting information from the locals, but that's pure speculation.. Also, the river was not dangerously swollen apparently...
You have to know the conditions and at what conditions the river is runnable. There are some rivers that you can only run at high water, others only at low water.

The BIG thing I've noticed here, with this incident is that there were a high number of man-made weirs on the river. This is always a bad sign, as they're generally made for flood control.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:33
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Re: Another Army Accident!

hi, i live near to where the accident happened.
the locals are totally shocked that the army would try rafting in this river, they can't understand it. even professionals don't go there as it is too dangerous.
it's really tragic, seems like such a waste of young lives.
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Old 13.06.2008, 09:39
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Yes but a well executed team building exercise, gives perceived danger which is well controlled by the people running the exercise. You can not control a group of inexperienced people in white water that trained guides would not do themselves.

I spent quite a long time running team building exercises in a past life, and we would never have done something like this, even though we were a largely water based set up.
I would guess, this being an Army event, that participation was not voluntary. I don't think whitewater activities should ever be entered by anyone except by their own choice, and only when they understand the risks.
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Old 13.06.2008, 10:18
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Re: Another Army Accident!

Totally agree with what your saying here! I also wonder IF they had any professional guides with them, or if they just entered the river at any given point on their own...

On the other hand, every soldier can refuse to do whatever he is being ordered to.. we call it einen gesunden Menschenverstand...

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I would guess, this being an Army event, that participation was not voluntary. I don't think whitewater activities should ever be entered by anyone except by their own choice, and only when they understand the risks.
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Old 13.06.2008, 10:26
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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On the other hand, every soldier can refuse to do whatever he is being ordered to.. we call it einen gesunden Menschenverstand...
That would take care of the volunteering aspect, but I doubt that anyone involved understood the risks they were taking.

The only ones that should be anywhere near this sort of river would be a Wikipedia reference-linkSwif****er rescue team. While I didn't take the training, we had a good number of guides in our club who had taken Swif****er courses.

(That's spelled out S w i f t w a t e r).

Last edited by gregv; 13.06.2008 at 10:27. Reason: censor filter....
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Old 13.06.2008, 10:27
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Totally agree with what your saying here! I also wonder IF they had any professional guides with them, or if they just entered the river at any given point on their own...

On the other hand, every soldier can refuse to do whatever he is being ordered to.. we call it einen gesunden Menschenverstand...
Doesn't sound like they had professional guides with them. I think that would have been mentioned very soon in the news due to the issue of blame and liability.

But I don't know where you got the strange notion that soldiers can refuse an order! Well, if they accept the consequences they can, I guess. An order that is quite clearly illegal can be refused, and one that puts lives in danger in a cavalier manner would certainly qualify in my book. The question is whether anyone who was part of that group actually realised the danger. If not, and they all set off in blissful ignorance, then it is a moot point. I guess this will come to light once the survivors have had an opportunity to make statements as to what actually happened.

As to gesunden Menschenverstand, as a one time officer in the Swiss army I can tell you that unfortunately it all too rarely has its place in military excercises, and probably not just in the Swiss army. Maybe things have changed since I was discharged, but I find it hard to imagine.
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Old 13.06.2008, 10:29
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Re: Another Army Accident!

Exactly, that's why I'm wondering about guides...

*snip*

Last edited by herc82; 13.06.2008 at 10:36. Reason: question already answered.. haven't seen it before
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Old 13.06.2008, 10:40
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Exactly, that's why I'm wondering about guides...

also, tried the link, but with all the bleeps, this does not come up on Wiki...
Sorry about the bleeps, but put the spelled out version into wikipedia and you'll see it.

The article mentions that this part of the river was closed to commercial rafting. I'd guess commercial rafting would be doing rivers up to class V, or V+. Novices shouldn't really be doing a first trip on anything higher than about a class III+ river.

Anyways, the key thing I noticed was that the raft was still in the hydraulic of the weir when the news helicopter flew over to film the scene. This alone shows how dangerous the river is.
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Old 16.06.2008, 11:17
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Re: Another Army Accident!

The irony of this is that the guy who was running the exercise has his own risk management firm.

I'd not be using his services given his faux pas here. I've been in a very small "washing machine" and it is almost impossible to break out without assistance.



The boat is trapped by the circulating current (right-hand image). This boat is completely unsuitable for trying to get through this obstacle and the best evidence is that nobody rafts this obstacle at all.

Catastrophic decision.
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Old 16.06.2008, 11:26
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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The irony of this is that the guy who was running the exercise has his own risk management firm.

I'd not be using his services given his faux pas here. I've been in a very small "washing machine" and it is almost impossible to break out without assistance.



The boat is trapped by the circulating current (right-hand image). This boat is completely unsuitable for trying to get through this obstacle and the best evidence is that nobody rafts this obstacle at all.

Catastrophic decision.
If you ever get caught in a situation like this, tuck your arms and legs in and form a ball with your body. You just might pop to the surface like a cork. I once remembered this after being underwater in a Class IV rapid for about a minute or so.

However, this particular set of weirs is formed of perfect hydraulics. You'd have to be very lucky to get out of that one.
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Old 27.06.2008, 16:59
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Re: Another Army Accident!

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Does anyone else think this smells of negligence?

Swiss info article.
or mybe it smells of incompetence and stupidity, eh?
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