Canyoning Accidents in Austria from 2005 to 2018
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Canyoning has become a popular recreational sport. Nevertheless, little is known about injuries or diseases associated with canyoning. The aim of this study was to examine accident causes, injury patterns, out-of-hospital and in-hospital treatment and outcomes. For this purpose, national out-of-hospital data from the Austrian Alpine Safety Board and regional in-hospital data from Innsbruck Medical University Hospital were analysed for the period from November 1, 2005 to October 31, 2018. Nationally, 471 persons were involved in such accidents; 162 (34.4%) were severely injured, nine of whom died. Jumping (n = 110, 23.4%), rappelling (n = 51, 10.8%), sliding (n = 41, 8.7%) and stumbling (n = 26, 5.5%) were the most common causes of canyoning accidents. A large proportion of injuries were documented for the lower extremities (n = 133, 47.5%), followed by the upper extremities (n = 65, 23.2%) and the spine (n = 44, 15.7%). Death was mainly caused by drowning. Overall mortality was 1.9% (n = 9), and the absolute risk was 0.02 deaths per 1000 hrs of canyoning. Many uninjured persons required evacuation (n = 116, 24.6%), which resulted in a substantial expense and workload for emergency medical services. Increased safety precautions are required to reduce accidents while jumping and rappelling and fatalities caused by drowning.