A quick note on the paddlers and the Gorge Paddle Challenge
The difficult truth is there was nothing anyone in the race could have done to prevent this except for Andres. Canceling the race would not have made a difference. He was already gone. These are tough words to write and even harder to hear.
If the Sheriff’s office believed it was a rescue operation and not a recovery operation, and they needed people on the water, they would have put out the call, been on TV and the radio and every single paddler at that race would have been there. That didn’t happen.
Which means they knew more than all of us on our laptops and smartphones did. More than the family did. More than the people searching the banks did. They knew the difficult truth. The truth we rightfully didn’t want to accept.
This is a tragic, horrible accident.
I would urge everyone not to let your emotions and sadness cause you to attack or criticize anyone who participated in the Gorge event. I’ve seen some comments and I know they come from a place of pain. Of loss. It’s not the time for that. The competitors and race directors are stand-up people by definition. And they’ve all been through a lot. They were there and they need our support. I can only imagine what it was like to paddle after hearing the news. Absolutely heartbreaking.
The race organizers, safety crew, friends, family, paddlers and competitors have lost a friend. Let’s help them heal and make changes so tragedies like this never happen again.
And to the recovery efforts, God’s speed. I know the family and friends need some kind of closure. The family needs help getting to Oregon to retrieve their lost son. Let’s rally. Let’s help. (Donation info here) Let’s talk about what we do next.