In the latest chapter of "Paddling", the whitewater story is true. It happened exactly as it is written. I really saw my life pass before my eyes. I thought, "So this is it". The only thing that saved me was something inside me. It told me to pause and not panic.
I later read an account of several people who had pretty much the same experience. In that case, one of the people did panic, and ended up passing from this life.
We did run another rapid later that day. That rapid was incredibly fun. As we hit each swell, the front of the canoe would literally lift out of the water. When the front would crash down again, the waves would wash over and into our canoe. By the time we had completed the run; our canoe was swamped and full of water. It was definitely a memorable experience.
One of my readers relayed a story of a tree that had fallen on a couple, while they were camping. I often worried about trees falling when I camped with my parents. We would learn the next morning, from the ranger, that huge trees had fallen during the night.
In this case, the man was found in a protective position, above his woman. Being a true hero, he was prepared to give his life for the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately, they both perished.