The raft was lined up perfectly for the massive rapid.
The Colorado-based team — eight accomplished paddlers on sliding seats atop a 48-foot custom raft designed to fly down the Grand Canyon — was on pace for a record.
Suddenly the boat was vertical. Then it was broken.
“It sounded like a gunshot,” said Ian Anderson.
“Followed by the sound of a jet engine,” said Seth Mason.
In the pitch black of night on the Colorado River’s burly Lava Falls rapid, an aluminum bar had snapped and punctured a 4-inch hole in the inflatable beam of the custom-built craft.