Again, death due to creek swell.

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by hank_rearden, Aug 31, 2015.

  1. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    five students were drowned and around six still missing when the creek they were crossing swelled due to a thunderstorm. it was a big party of around 54 students, none of them it seems had training in trekking or mountaineering. trekkers killes tarlac

    and it's not the first time i read about it here in the philippines. just how does one keep this from happening?
  2. AndreLinoge

    AndreLinoge Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2014
    Easy. Ban thunderstorms.
  3. hank_rearden


    Jun 7, 2002
    imagine if every teacher in the world was like you. ;)
  4. Bob W

    Bob W

    Dec 31, 2000
    It's easy to avoid unless you're in a narrow canyon with no escape. In that case your only chance is avoiding the situation in the first place.

    I've been stranded once in the Ozarks due to high water. Hiking all day in the rain with multiple stream crossings that kept getting worse and worse. Not wanting to get fall and get wet in the cold temps, much less swept away and drowned, I set up the tent on a high terrace and waited. The next morning I inspected the stream, weighed the options, and hiked up a ridge where I knew there was a road up top that would lead back to the car. Had that not been an option, I would have simply waited a few hours longer for the stream level to drop; the Ozark drainages are steep and fast-draining.

    Why take chances, especially with a large group, without proper safety lines, and with non-expert skill levels? Not worth it.
  5. OwenM


    Oct 26, 2000
    Develop a little patience.

    I risked my life in a creek crossing in CO last fall, and made a few others I was pretty unhappy about, but I thought I could do it, and I did.
    The weather was the result of a hurricane sitting off the west coast, and didn't hit until the end of the 4th day, though the forecasts had called for it to rain my whole 7 day trip at one point.
    It was day 6, there was no guarantee I could go back the way I'd come, and as far as I knew, it was only going to get worse. I could have been stuck for several days if I didn't make those crossings right then(not to mention missing my train, then my hotel and plane, having people looking for me, etc.).
    I never would have considered it under normal conditions.
    These jokers wouldn't wait, though.
    From the article: "The mountaineers were caught in the swelling water currents during the thunderstorm lasting almost an hour, according to the Office of Civil Defense."
    And 11 of them are dead, assuming the missing are just awaiting confirmation by having their bodies found. That's a shame.
  6. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Creeks rise and fall. Sometimes you might just have to spend the night around a fire assuming you brought fire making materials with you. Generally not the end of the world during warmer weather conditions. It turns your hike into an adventure. We all like to remember our adventures and sometimes they are the result of adversity.
  7. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Sixth body found.
  8. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I wonder how large Nagsasa Creek is? It seems a little odd to me. It sounds more like a flash flood where the "creek" doubled in size all of a sudden and without warning. As "mountaineers, they should have had rope with them to use as a safety to tie onto people rather than the whole bunch trudging across the water course all at once if the flow was already high.
  9. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    People don't understand risk unless they have experience. The experienced probably would have made other choices. Its part of why I do what I do, give kids a chance to gain some experience and hopefully do so in a safe way. Often though, people who have been out in good conditions just assume its always that easy, and don't know how bad things can really be. There is a trail not too far from where I live that is popular with school groups. but its the sort of place that can be very unforgiving if things go wrong, and there have been fatalities. Its easy when things are good, so people still go.
  10. neeman


    Apr 5, 2007
    Hiking in Scotland, the burns go from a small jumpable stream to raging impassable torrents
    So you either walk up stream or wait

    But here in Israel in the Judean Desert and in the Negev there is the danger of flash floods in the Wadis
    A flash flood is the wadi fills with very fast moving water mixed with boulders and mud
    It can be dry and hot where you are, but it has rained 20 km away in the hills
    The only warning you get is a dull roar, and if you are in the Wadi it might be too late

    All organized hiking groups have a registered guide that knows all the dangers
    And all school groups have the registered guide, a medic (ex-army) and a weapon carrier (ex-army)
    So the risk to groups is much less
  11. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    I checked out Google Earth maps of the area around the monastery. My guess is that Nagsasa Creek is the rather large east-west running water course north of the monastery. There is a fairly wide flood plain and a large watershed. This stream gets HIGH. You would probably have to be either a fool or desperate to attempt crossing it on foot in high water. Still a real shame however regardless.
  12. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Doesn't have to get all that high.

    Reportedly, he dropping his hiking pole and tried to recover it from the water. But he didn't unfasten the waist belt or chest strap on his backpack. So when he fell over . . . .

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