Man dies after Colorado River rescue |

Man dies after Colorado River rescue

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A 45-year-old man who rescuers pulled from the Colorado River Monday afternoon died at Valley View Hospital, according to the Garfield County coroner’s office.

Kristin Clifford, deputy county coroner, said hospital staff pronounced the man dead at 5:30 p.m. almost two hours after he was swept away in the Colorado River near South Canyon, outside of Glenwood Springs. She said the hospital staff at Valley View Hospital tried to resuscitate the man for about 20 minutes.

The coroner’s office declined to reveal the man’s identity Tuesday afternoon because they had been unable to notify his family. His body was sent to Grand Junction for an autopsy.

Clifford said the man was from Las Vegas and that he was traveling with a friend when the victim decided to put his kayak into the Colorado River. The friend was not with the victim when he fell into the river, Clifford said.

The South Canyon section of the Colorado River was flowing at 13,000 cubic feet per second Monday afternoon.

Tanny McGinnis, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office community relations deputy, said there were witnesses who told the sheriff’s officials that they saw the man in a “blow-up” kayak flotation device and that he fell out of it near mile marker 111 on Interstate 70.

The witnesses, who called 911, then lost sight of the man in the river, McGinnis said. 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, she said.

The deputy then got down the river bank and used a rope to hook the man with it. The deputy was then able to bring the man to the shore, McGinnis said.

The victim was then loaded into an ambulance and taken to Valley View Hospital, McGinnis said.