ED Magedson – Founder
Ellijay river outfitters88 Holt Bridge Rd. Ellijay, Georgia USA
Ellijay river outfitters http://www.tubeellijay.com Unethical practices Ellijay Georgia
On May 26 2013, i had gone to this company for a tubing and kayaking trip. In the group i had
We had in the group people who had experience with Kayaking a tubing. One of the adults realising that the river was dangerous and that the people running the company were disorganized did not get on the trip, inspite of having paid the full amount. She decided to go back and wait for us at the end zone.
For several of us, this was the first tubing and kayaking experience. I am stating the experience here so people like us may understand that this company is not having ethical practices and does not care about the safety or security of the people using their tubes and kayaks. Money is more important to them, even if that is at the cost of putting little kids in harms way.
We were told that since this was a large group we would get a discount if we use more Kayaks than tubes. We waited patiently for more than an hour to get all the paperwork completed. We told them that we had little children in our group and we were told that there is no need to worry as they would be in the tube and that the 4 - 8 year old would be able to navigate the course and use the tube without any training. We were not given any instructions at all or even a safety drill, giving us a false sense of security.
After completing the paperwork we were told that he would bring out the saftey vests. After a while, the person dumped a load of safety vests. All of the vests were old, dirty and worn out cosmetically (Colors faded, tears on the safety vests etc ...). We asked for smaller vests for the kids and he said that the kids can use the same one. We waited for some more time and then went to the back and found other vests that were more appropriate for the kids sizes. After waiting for another 30 minutes, a bus arrived and we helped the people load the tubes and the kayaks. The person there was loading some tubes that was not filled and we asked them to pick other tubes.
We then reached the river. At this time, all the kayaks and tubes were unloaded. We asked for helmets and the person did not have enough. The kids did not have any. We told the guy that we needed the helmets for the safety of the kids. After a little discussion, the lady went back to get helmets and paddles. The helmets that we got were kids bike helmets. One of the tubes popped as soon as we put it on water and it started drowning.
I had my two year with me and my 4 year old on another tube tied to my tube. As soon as the tube started sinking, i realized something was wrong and got out of the water with my 2 year old. There was another spare tube, since one of the adults decided that she was not going to go tubing, instead wait for all of us at the end. We were told that the we needed to get to the bank as soon as the first bridge was over.
We started the trip around 3:00 PM. The people on the kayak started falling as soon as they hit the water, but we were told that it is just the initial current and that the river would be less rapid after the turn, which was just ahead. Braving ourselves, we started the trip in a group. As soon as we turned the river, we noticed that a tree had fallen and everyone was dashing against the tree and falling in the water. The tube that i was on was more than half way submerged in the water.
Some of the experienced Kayakers, managed to group all of us at the tree and decided to lead us all. I realized that my tube did not have enough air and i switched with my 4 year old daughter. I had a wooden paddle, and was handling two tubes. After the tubes were rescued from the tree, the tube started floating and i drifted down river. My 4 year old daughter was frantic and crying. The 5,6 and 8 year old were also crying and were tied to a kayak.
I navigated the course and realized that the tube was moving very fast and were were hitting trees and my daughters tube had a bunch of spiders that she was trying to get away from. The paddle came in handy to push ourselves away from the river banks and the overhead tree branches against which we were being rammed every 5 minutes or so.
I got to a place and saw that there was a rope tied end to end across the river and a lot of tubes tied to the rope. All across the river there were signs of private property. I somehow used the rope, the paddle and somehow managed to hold on to my daughters tube.
Finally, after about an hour of nervousness, fear and safety for my kids, i saw two people on kayaks from our group who were rapidly coming downstream. He asked me to hold on to the end of his kayak and he pulled us through. The person from our group who was waiting for us at the end seemed relieved as soon as she saw us.
Upon reaching the shore, i heard all of the horror stories that the rest of our group was facing. Some of the people fell into the water, were bruised, were stranded in multiple places along the entire course.
I then talked to the manager of the situation and he started negotiating with us and charging us more money to get everyone out. He was more concerned about the kayak and the tubes and was telling us that we would have to pay a lot if he didn't get the kayaks and tubes.
He told us that he would charge an additional $800 to get everyone of us back and that he was doing us a favor. My wife came to the end walking completely bruised and crying. She asked me to call 911 after seeing the condition of my kids and their bruises. I called 911 and as soon as the operator came on the phone, the owner changed his tone and said that he was doing his best to get everyone back.
Immediately, there was a bus and a couple of folks gave him approximate location of the different places where people from our group were stranded. Eventually, everyone was back, but kids were bruised, adults had deeper cuts on their hands and feet, and people had lost their glasses, watches etc...
5 of the 8 adults, 4 of the 6 teens and 4 of the 6 kids had to be rescued. When the person reached a location rescue, which had an alarmed gate. He cut off the alarm wires, pushed open the gates and went very fast in and out to not be caught for trespassing on private property.
Some of the people stranded on the other private properties were helped by the property owners, so we could go pick them up. The property owners made us aware that the site was not meant for kayaking and tubing as there was fish farming going on and was private property and the kayaking company is illegally operating on the site.
After all of us reached back to the site, we asked for a medical kit and she said that they did not have any. The manager started asking us to pay $400 for bringing everyone back for one lost kayak and the exploded tube. Seeing the condition of the kids, adults and our group after this harrowing experience, i told the guy that we needed medical attention or else i was going to call the ambulance. He then said that he would let us go, if we paid $150. Since my wife’s kayak was the one lost, i decided to make the payment with the credit card and leave the place, so i could dispute this transaction later for lack of services.
I have since then disputed this transaction with my credit company. I would urge anyone trying to go for Kayaking or tubing, please go with a more reputed operator than this one.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/12/2013 06:37 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ellijay-river-outfitters/ellijay-georgia-30536/ellijay-river-outfitters-httpwwwtubeellijaycom-unethical-practices-ellijay-georgia-1074971. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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