Video: Over, Under, Gone: The Killer in Our Rivers

As anglers, we spend a lot of time on rivers, whether we’re wading or in some sort of watercraft. And the more we engage in these activities, the more confident we become that we know what we are doing. And it is that kind of confidence that sometimes gets people killed.

A few years ago, the PBS station WFYI in Indianapolis premiered an eye-opening documentary about the dangers of “low-head” dams on rivers. I say “eye-opening,” but what I really mean is sobering. Low-head dams are the ones that seem pretty innocuous, and perhaps you have walked across them or waded right below them dozens of times, as I have. But I’ll never do it again after watching Over, Under, Gone: The Killer in Our Rivers.

The documentary begins with the story of Sean Hiebel, a 24-year-old seasoned kayaker who was killed when he attempted to kayak over the Hosey Dam on the Maumee River. He was pulled into the hydraulic action created by water spilling over the dam and never resurfaced. It turns out that the list of tragic deaths caused by these kinds of dams is a long one.

I think that Over, Under, Gone: The Killer in Our Rivers should be required viewing for anyone who spends a lot of time on rivers, and I plan to show it to my kids, since many of the victims are under the age of eighteen. Here’s the full film:

6 thoughts on “Video: Over, Under, Gone: The Killer in Our Rivers

  1. We had two of these dams on the Pompton River in NJ and one of them has taken several lives. When I was a volunteer fireman in Pequannock Twp. I worked three such drownings and all were young people, very sad and heartbreaking work. It was a diversion dam for the old Morris canal.

  2. I experienced this on a white water rafting trip on the Chatooga river where the guide approached a waterfall that was a “natural” low rise dam. As he approached, with six people in the raft, the current pulled the raft to the “dam”. Once there he “surfed” back and forth along the waterfall. At one point he got the boat sideways and it flipped up on its edge throwing me into the water right where the water came over the rock. Luckily I was the only one. I was pushed under and and began what felt like rolling. Like what is in the pictures in this video. For some reason I decided to make myself like board and become as stiff as I could. After a bit it spit me out. The guides eyes were as big as plates and I am sure mine were to. I have to think this was a God moment since this was a large waterfall and after heavy rains. It was as big as most in the video. I should not have come out of that. Stayvaway from these things and makecsure your guide does as well! Blessings

  3. Quicksand and soft bottoms are also a danger when wading. Stay away from them. Silt builds up, one step the river bottom is hard and rocky, the next step you sink into a soft button. Especially bad in the eye of an eddy.

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