Trauma Tuesday: Big Nasty, Black Saturday

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Have you ever heard about the monstrous flood that swept through West Virginia in 1985, killing over 50 people and wiping entire towns off the map? What about the carnage that ensued in the whitewater industry, the day that would come to be known as Black Saturday? No? Well, do yourself a favor, and check out our good friend Jay Young’s two-part series (part 1, part 2) on Dirt Bag Paddler Magazine about “the single most carnage-filled day in American Whitewater.”

The story follows the rafting industry down the Cheat River, post flood, on Saturday, April 12, 1986. The following footage Young secured from video boater Paul Marshall, who documented the trips with a Super 8 video camera. Though the flood itself took many lives, it’s incredible to see these helmet-less customers get swept away by the power of this rapid (appropriately named Big Nasty) and know that not a single death or injury was reported.

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