Monday, June 8, 2015

Gallitan River Whitewater Fatality

Sad lessons are taught every day.

Live your life to the fullest. Take risks for sure. But calculate them carefully. One of the risks not to be taken lightly is whitewater rafting during the height of the spring run off. Wait until July or August and live to tell about it lest you too end up being the subject of a sheriff's office report.
On May 31st, 2015 at 4:17 pm, the Gallatin County Coroner’s Office was dispatched to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital for a 43 year old male who had drowned in a white water rafting accident. The individual has been identified as Brian Niedermeyer of Bozeman, MT. Mr. Niedermeyer was one of 8 individuals who were on a guided white water trip when the raft flipped, just north of House Rock.  According to the Geyser White water company had safety measures in place to include 2 rescue Kayaks and 2 people on land with safety line throw bags. Mr. Niedermeyer failed to grab the safety lines as they were thrown to him.
Here is the full report.

BOZEMAN -A Bozeman man drowned Sunday after a whitewater raft he was on overturned on the Gallatin River.
"There were seven other people in the raft, nine with the river guide. The raft did go over just north of House Rock and the individual passed away," said Gallatin County Undersheriff Dan Springer.
Brian Niedermeyer, 43, was on a guided rafting trip with Geyser Whitewater Expeditions.
"According to the company they had their safety measures in place.  They had two safety kayaks as well as two safety lines on land and I know that the other seven were self rescued or rescued by the company," Springer said.
According to Geyser Whitewater, Niedermeyer was wearing a life jacket and failed to grab safety lines when they were thrown to him.
House Rock on the Gallitan River.
"Most life jackets have a certain amount of buoyancy in them to keep your head above water most of the time.  But in the Gallatin River, there are a bunch of splashing waves, so it takes some conscious effort to stay out of the waves and float with your life jacket," Eric Becker, owner of Geyser Whitewater Expeditions.
Becker said a major incident on the Gallatin River is rare and it's usually safer to go with a guide.
"Typically it would be, especially if you are a beginner," Becker said.
With current river levels high,
Geyser Whitewater is no longer running trips by House Rock.  It will offer them later in the summer when levels come down. 
Montana Whitewater Raft Company is currently not running trips by House Rock either.
To check stream flows, click here

Brian Niedermayer's obituary was published Sunday. He leaves behind a widow and three young sons.

Brian Joseph Niedermeyer


Brian Niedermeyer passed on Sunday, May 31, 2015, at the age of 42 following a whitewater rafting accident on the Gallatin River in Montana.

Brian was born in Portland, Oregon, Nov. 2, 1972, and spent most of his life growing up in Oregon. He was an incredibly loving husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend who enjoyed being active. His bright blue eyes and smile lit up the room when he walked in. He made friends wherever he went and always left them smiling!

Brian married Angela Perry on Sept. 11, 1999. In 2000, Brian obtained a position at U.S. Bank in Merchant services and rose through the ranks to become one of the top merchant service representatives in the country. Brian's expertise lead to his current position where he put together complicated merchant service agreements for large corporations. Last week Brian celebrated his fifteenth anniversary with the U.S. Bank.

Brian was a consummate inventor, holding a number of patents related to data security and fraud protection, including a number of patents still pending. He leaves behind many family and friends who will miss him forever. Brian was a man with a huge colorful light and presence, remembered by everyone he met. 

Brian is survived by; his wife, Angela Niedermeyer and sons Charlie Niedermeyer, Bennett Niedermeyer and Finn Niedermeyer; brothers, Terrence Niedermeyer, David Niedermeyer, Patrick Niedermeyer and his wife Teresa, Paul Niedermeyer and his wife Lisa; and sisters, Maureen Ann Longton, Jeanmarie Courtney, Lisa Marie Niedermeyer, Karen McComb and Sister-in-law Ranee Niedermeyer. Brian also had many nieces and nephews; Erica Niedermeyer, Kristen Niedermeyer, Edward Niedermeyer, Nicole Niedermeyer, Timothy Niedermeyer, Kelly Chumbly, John Grove, Kimberly Grove, Emily Longton, Robert Courtney, Andrew Courtney, Aaron Courtney, Ryan Cavanaugh, Carly Cavanaugh, Kevin Cavanaugh, Jack Niedermeyer, and Anna Niedermeyer, Hunter Dupuis, Danielle Dupuis, Maximillian Niedermeyer, and Ava Niedermeyer.

Brian was preceded in death by his oldest brother Gregory Niedermeyer and parents Edward and Annamae Niedermeyer. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, June 8, 2015, at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas More Church in Portland, Oregon, followed by a reception at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon.
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from June 5 to June 7, 2015
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Here is a video, one year previous almost to the day, shot at the House Rock location where Brian's raft flipped. Note that the first raft is under control and shoots through the rapids, whereas the second raft founders before entering the sluice and flips -- everyone survived last year.

The videographer said.

Published on May 29, 2014
Stopped down to check out house rock this evening and it was roaring. The rivers are moving with the snowpack melting and a few kayakers and rafters were out. A couple boats flipped but everyone swam to shore safely and then got back in the boats. I love to kayak but will wait to the levels go down.

May Brian Niedermeyer rest in peace. Out deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

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