Boating accident kills fisherman
July 26, 2005
An angler drowned on the Roaring Fork River near Carbondale Tuesday after his fishing boat hit a rock.Authorities are withholding the victim’s name pending notification of kin.The accident occurred at about 2 p.m. Tuesday when three people were floating the river; the victim was thrown overboard after their boat hit the rock, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release.Two people made it to shore with the boat and called 911. The victim was last seen floating downstream and reportedly was not wearing a life jacket, the sheriff’s office said.The Carbondale and Basalt fire departments were called to the scene and the victim was found a short distance downstream. Carbondale police assisted in recovering the victim’s body.”This is a shock,” said Drew Reid, manager of Roaring Fork Anglers in Glenwood Springs.Reid said the last angler he can recall dying on local rivers was an older man with poor hearing who was killed when an ice dam broke in Basalt, releasing a flood of water that caught the man by surprise as he was fishing downstream. The death occurred on a Christmas Day, probably in the 1980s, he said.He said fishers are required to wear life jackets on any commercially guided trip. Sometimes guides don’t enforce the law, risking citations and penalties against their outfitter licenses, he said.Life jackets can be bulky, cumbersome and hot, and some clients will refuse to wear them, Reid said. And some outfitters refuse to take on those clients, he added.He said he won’t hire guides who already have been ticketed once for failing to have their clients wear jackets and get caught violating the law again.Private parties sometimes will forgo wearing life jackets, and Reid himself won’t wear one if the water is low, he said. But when water is higher, as it is now on the Roaring Fork, it’s important to wear them, he said.”It’s still running high. It’s scary, that’s for sure,” he said.”I know a lot of people that have turned boats over and luckily for them they were all wearing their life jackets,” he said.For those taking the proper precautions, it’s probably safer to fish from a boat than from shore, Reid said. He knows of three anglers who have ended up going to hospital emergency rooms due to accidents that took place when they were wading in rivers.”The boats are pretty safe. … That’s why this is a shock. I’m pretty surprised,” Reid said.