Missing boy’s body found below South Canyon; Glenwood Canyon paddler drowns
July 5, 2012
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Boaters floating on the Colorado River Wednesday discovered the body of a Glenwood Springs youngster that was lost in the river on Sunday.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Garfield County Coroner’s office confirmed the identity of the body as that of Richard Irving Buchanan, 12, of Glenwood Springs.
An autopsy is scheduled for today to determine the cause of death, said Kristin Clifford, deputy coroner.
Tanny McGinnis, spokeswoman for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, said a call came in around 2 p.m. Wednesday of a body washed up on a gravel bar in the Colorado River about three miles east of New Castle.
McGinnis said the description of the body matched that of the missing youth. The boy’s family was reported to be at the scene, she said.
Garfield Search and Rescue launched a boat and retrieved the body, while sheriff’s deputies diverted all oncoming boaters, asking them to take out at the South Canyon boat launch.
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Richard is believed to have drowned on Sunday afternoon while tubing with his older sister Rischma Buchanan, 19, and their stepfather, Tim Heiney.
They put in the river near the I-70 Exit 116 and floated west into South Canyon, said Heiney. Richard floated out ahead of the other two as they approached the South Canyon Bridge, where a wave train runs down alongside a bridge pier.
Heiney said he lost sight of the boy, and then found his tube floating in an eddy just below the bridge.
Other witnesses reported seeing Richard off his tube and struggling in the water before he went under. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Richard was a Jamaican immigrant who moved to Colorado with his mother, Sharline Heiney, and his sister. The family lives in Glenwood Springs and Richard had just finished sixth grade at Glenwood Springs Middle School.
A second drowning occurred around 3 p.m. Wednesday in Glenwood Canyon, according to McGinnis.
An adult man on a stand-up paddleboard fell off the board and into river below the Grizzly Creek boat launch and did not resurface for a period of time, McGinnis said.
He was not wearing a life jacket at the time of the accident.
Other boaters spotted the man and pulled him from the river. People at the scene administered CPR, but the man could not be revived, McGinnis said.
The Glenwood Springs Fire Department transported the man to Valley View Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Clifford.
The man’s identity will not be released until authorities notify his family.