Colorado river drowning victim ID’d |

Colorado river drowning victim ID’d

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS “The Garfield County Coroner’s office has released the identity of a man who drowned after falling into the Colorado River on Monday.

Kristin Clifford, deputy county coroner, identified the victim as Richard Banks, 45, of Las Vegas. Rescuers pulled him out of the Colorado River after he fell out of his kayak at about 3:30 p.m. Monday.

Hospital staff at Valley View Hospital pronounced Banks dead at 5:30 p.m. almost two hours after he was swept away in the swift river waters near South Canyon. They tried to resuscitate Banks for about 20 minutes.

An autopsy in Grand Junction determined that drowning was the was official cause of Banks’ death. No drugs or alcohol were found in his system.

Banks and a girlfriend were traveling through the area when Banks decided to go fishing in the river with a new kayak they had just bought, Clifford told authorities. The girlfriend dropped Banks off near South Canyon and then was going to meet him in Rifle, she said.

Witnesses called 911 saying that they saw Banks fall out of his kayak and into the river near mile marker 111 on Interstate 70. The witnesses then lost sight of Banks, according to previous reports of the incident. Banks was wearing a life jacket.

A Garfield County sheriff’s deputy saw the man in the river near the 104 mile marker, which is just west of the New Castle exit.

The deputy went down to the riverbank and used a rope to hook the man and bring him to the shore. The victim was then loaded into an ambulance and taken to Valley View Hospital.