Two men drown at Ruedi Reservoir after accident Saturday afternoon
Two men drowned at Ruedi Reservoir on Saturday afternoon, according to an official with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
One of the men was in his 40s, said Michael Buglione, a patrol supervisor with the agency. Communication with law enforcement on the scene was difficult Saturday afternoon because of the lack of cellphone service in the Fryingpan Valley.
Emergency dispatchers first received a call about the drownings at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, said Alex Burchetta, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office patrol director who was on-scene for four hours at the reservoir Saturday afternoon.
What little information that was available Saturday evening indicates that a man yet to be identified was swimming alone near his boat in the lake and struggling, Burchetta said. Another man from the Basalt area on a second boat passing by jumped in to help the first man and both went under the water and were not seen again, he said.
A Sheriff’s Office investigator Saturday evening was interviewing a woman who was on the second boat, Burchetta said.
The bodies have not yet been recovered, Burchetta said, though deputies have a good idea generally where they are.
A rescue/dive team from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office was called Saturday evening to Ruedi with a boat, a dog, sonar equipment and a submersible device that can search underwater, he said. The team — which regularly patrols Lake Dillon — was scheduled to arrive about at 9 p.m. and get to work immediately, Burchetta said.
Roger Brown, a Basalt resident, was on a friend’s boat at Ruedi on Saturday when they came around a corner and saw two boats tied together and a woman running back and forth between the two screaming, “Help, help, help,” he said.
The woman said someone had a heart attack and a man on her boat jumped in the water to help but never came back up, Brown said. The woman was alone on the boat and Brown said he did not speak with her.
As Brown and his friend got closer, they thought they could see a body in the water so his friend dove in but could not find it, he said. They then drove back and forth over the area for the next hour and a half using a fish-finder, which Brown said was able to pinpoint the location of the bodies in about 29 feet of very cold water.
Brown’s friend, who owned the boat, later took him back to shore, picked up sheriff’s deputies and drove them to where they believed the bodies were located, he said.
Austin Colbert contributed to this story.
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Basalt has signed a contract to purchas land in the Willits area with an eye toward relocating the police station within a few years.