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Monday, November 22, 2010

Raft company owner indicted

Raft trips go through the Hudson River Gorge. Photo copyright by Carl Heilman II.

Raft trips go through the Hudson River Gorge. Photo copyright by Carl Heilman II.

The owner of the Hudson River Rafting Company has been indicted on five misdemeanor charges accusing him of endangering clients on whitewater trips.

The defendant, Patrick Cunningham, pleaded not guilty to the charges last week in Hamilton County Court, according to the office of District Attorney James Curry.

Cunningham is charged with two counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

The charges stem from incidents on August 10 and August 12.

The first count of reckless endangerment alleges that on August 10 Cunningham sent clients down the Indian and Hudson rivers in overloaded rafts and at a time when the water was too low for safe travel. The customers included “children and counselors from Camp Morasha.”

The three counts of endangering the welfare of a child name three girls who took the trip that day. In each case, the indictment alleges that the girl had to paddle the raft while “physically exhausted and after the defendant had failed to provide sufficient food or drink.”

The second count of reckless endangerment alleges that on August 12 Cunningham persuaded Robert and Savannah Carson to undertake the trip in an inflatable kayak even though they had no kayaking or whitewater experience. The indictment says they received no instructions on the safe use of the kayaks or the dangers of whitewater.

As we reported in September, Cunningham and one of his guides, Heath Bromley, were initially charged last summer before the case went to the grand jury. Charges against Bromley have since been dropped.

In that article, Cunningham insisted he had broken no laws. Cunningham has been running Hudson River Rafting for more than three decades.

Phil Brown

Contributor Phil Brown was editor of the Adirondack Explorer from 1999-2018. When he isn't at his desk, he's usually out hiking, paddling, skiing, or doing something else important.

3 Responses

  1. Punch Ali says:

    Back in the seventies everyone thought Pat Cunningham was crazy for running the river at all, then a few years later, everyone is running the river. Now he’s running boats with no guides and everyone thinks he’s crazy. Maybe it’s just the natural progression of the sport and he’s still at the forefront. In a few years everyone will be running boats without guides. Pat Cunningham is a pioneer.

  2. Mile Long Pubes says:

    God Dammit Heath – I told you to patch those Avons – those are good rafts, back in the day I used to take down a birch tree at 14,000 CFS on an 8 foot river – that kid looks strong, they don’t need guides – stick em’ in the ducky with a canoe paddle, jezuschrist heath tell LeBreck to fix the goddamm roof with a cigarette and patch the avon with his holy jeans and get back on the water with that group of dotheads, christ heath is stuck in the narrows and swam the whole mile long rapid, pick him up at the railroad tracks and walk the 85 year old choir troupe the other 8 miles back to the shop for some cold soup, they’ll love it heath christ

  3. Zenia says:

    You made some fine points there. I did a search on the topic and found nearly all people will consent with your blog.

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