On the River: Rafting death on the Eagle
EDWARDS – Gypsum resident Doug Gordon, 57, died Saturday when the private raft he was riding in flipped on the “Edwards Mile” of the Eagle River near the Riverwalk mall. Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said Gordon’s family, including his mother, from Woodstock, Ga., were notified of Gordon’s death. The Vail Daily was unable to locate any of his family members. Gordon’s friend, who was piloting the raft and declined to give his name, swam to the south shore of the river after the boat hit a wave and capsized just before 2 p.m. Gordon ended up on the north side of the river. Both men were wearing life vests, said Lt. Mike McWilliam of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. Kayakers pulled Gordon to the side of the river and performed CPR for half an hour before Eagle River Fire Protection District personnel arrived, McWilliam said. They were unsuccessful in reviving Gordon. McWilliam said drugs and alcohol weren’t factors in the accident, and the rower will not face criminal charges. He called the incident a freak accident, adding both men were experienced rafters. Gordon’s death came after a separate incident Friday night that left a man battered but alive after he fell from his boat on the same stretch of the Eagle River.The multiple accidents have the local boating community abuzz as rafters and kayakers alike lament the loss of one of their own and urge caution on the river at this volatile time. “Be safe out there. Go with people with plenty of experience. Scout the mile even though it’s long, and for God’s sake, wear some warm clothes and proper gear,” said one boater, known as “liquidchaos,” on mountainbuzz.com’s online boating forum.Still trying to determine who Gordon was, “WhiteLightning” simply posted, “Very sad to hear we lost one of our local river runners.” (Vail Daily)
(AP) A 30-year-old Boulder man was missing and feared dead in Vallecito Creek near Durango. He had been kayaking with friends on a one-mile stretch of the creek that runs through a steep gorge. The creek, located in the San Juan National Forest’s Weminuche Wilderness, is considered an extremely difficult area for kayaking.Members of the La Plata County Search and Rescue team searched the gorge using ropes and a helicopter flew up and down the canyon looking for the unidentified man.Durango kayaker John Wade said the creek is more difficult than the Upper Animas River, where at least six boaters, including an experienced river guide, died last summer.”People need to have an understanding of how much power we’re talking about,” he said. “And it’s the power that can take a life away.”
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