Accidents and CrashesBend Park and Rec Board to hear recommended changes in wake of...

Bend Park and Rec Board to hear recommended changes in wake of Whitewater Park surfer’s death

Bend Park and Rec Board to hear recommended changes in wake of Whitewater Park surfer’s death

Staff to recommend June 18 reopening of ‘surf wave’ after changes made

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Bend Park and Recreation Board next Tuesday evening will receive findings and recommendations for changes to the Bend Whitewater Park’s “surf wave,” to improve safety in the wake of a 17-year-old surfer’s death, with a goal of reopening on June 18, after changes are made.

The April 30 incident that killed Ben Murphy occurred when he “went down and got stuck at the interface between a static gate and pneumatic gate,” according to an issue summary prepared for next week’s meeting.

The pneumatic gate and surf wave have been closed since then, as the investigation was undertaken of what happened, and how it can be prevented in the future.

The park district said it brought in engineers and whitewater experts to help assess the condition of the river and surf wave equipment to look at the cause of the accident and propose modifications to equipment and operations to reduce the risk.

The issue summary from Executive Director Don Horton and Development Manager Brian Hudspeth noted that some facilities, from skate and bike parks to swimming pools and playgrounds, “come with inherent risk,” and that “elimination of risk is not possible; nonetheless, there are lessons to be learn and improvements to be made any time we learn more about hazards that lead to injury or tragic events.”

Park district staff also asked the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance to conduct an independent review of the recommendation and operational procedures for reopening. The committee was made up of Bend Fire & Rescue, swift-water rescue experts and experienced surf and whitewater users, they said.

The park board meeting agenda is linked here.

The post Bend Park and Rec Board to hear recommended changes in wake of Whitewater Park surfer’s death appeared first on KTVZ.

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