News » Whistler

Waiver being tested again



Page 3 of 3

"What happened in this case, with poor Mrs. Braid falling from the raft and being trapped under the log, is what can happen in river rafting and that was clearly spelled out in the waiver. It is our position that that is covered by the waiver and that it is a fair thing to do," he said. "We expect the court will ultimately agree with that position."

Marjorie Braid signed and initialled the waiver which includes the statement: "I am aware that jet boating and river rafting involves many risks, dangers and hazards including, but not limited to; … the overturning or upsetting of the boat or raft; … falling from the boat or raft while on the river; impact or collisions with rocks, trees, logs, deadfall …"

Four days before the accident, Whistler River Adventures staff noticed that two fallen trees had drifted onto a gravel bar making navigation in the more technical part of the course more difficult. Guide Bunbury determined they were an unacceptable hazard and the following day made cuts in the logs, causing them to move downstream.

One log moved beyond the raft take-out point. The other came to rest on a gravel bar within the rafting course. It took between a quarter and a third of the river’s width. It was the log that eventually caused Braid’s death.

The river company acknowledged it did view the log as a hazard, but not one significant enough to remove. The company, noted the judge, had clearly considered whether or not to move the log and decided against it.

The company took a total of 15 rafts past the log without incident and river guide Eric Ridington, of another company, rafted past the log on June 10. He testified that while he had to manoeuvre around it, it was not difficult and a typical obstacle for this kind of rafting run.