Wednesday, July 11, 2007 my life was saved by a brave and selfless man, Kevin Zeh. I was kayaking unknown whitewater, and ended up swimming after banging into some overhanging rock. Then I became pinned at chest height between a submerged log and my water-filled boat. Good news was my head was above water.
Bad news: i couldn't breathe. (Think of a refrigerator on your chest). I tried squirming out, prying, being skinnier, but no escape. Neither I nor the boat would budge.
Kevin, who was a stranger to me until that day, managed to get up river to me and repeatedly tried to pull the boat off. It wouldn’t move! There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to die. I heard river gods called my name--seemed so...soon. I was too young! “At least I’ve lived a good life.” I thought. “A full life.”
Kevin almost slipped and fell into the flow as he tried to better his footing to gain more leverage with the boat. I thought, “He’s going to feel guilty his whole life for not being able to save me!” I felt terrible about this truth. There was nothing I could do.
Seconds from losing consciousness, an option I hadn’t tried appeared to me. I rolled forward over the log, trying to shift my position in any tiny way -- it might help. Maybe the small angle change in the boat would allow the water would lift under the edge of the boat?
At the same time, Kevin had his own idea. He seemed to jump off the rock island and throw the full force of his body onto my boat. The kayak somersaulted free. Kevin and I floated down the river.
July 11 is Kevin Zeh Day.
Calgary Herald, or the Calgary Sun.