Two die rafting on Arkansas

Steve Lynn
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

MINTURN ” One woman drowned and another died the following day at a hospital after falling into a river along with other passengers during a rafting trip last week lead by a Vail company, authorities said.

The women died after two Nova Guides rafts flipped over around noon Thursday about eight miles north of Buena Vista in the Arkansas River, authorities said.

Authorities said 12 rafters were dumped into the water in an area called the “Numbers,” a stretch described as challenging on several rafting websites.

In a faxed statement, Nova Guides owner Greg Caretto said, “One raft overturned and a second raft overturned undertaking rescue efforts resulting in a total of 12 passengers ‘swimming.'”

Lynn Marks, 52, of Texas, drowned Thursday and Beatrice Kovich, 55, of New York, died Friday at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, said Chaffee County Coroner Randy Amettis.

The cause of Kovich’s death is still under investigation, Amettis said.

A third rafter was treated and released at Heart of the Rockies Medical Center in Salida, said spokeswoman Chris Ortiz. That rafter’s name was unavailable Monday.

Caretto declined comment on whether he would change how he managed rafting trips.

“Nova Guides wishes to express its thoughts and condolences to the families,” Caretto said in the statement.

The Arkansas River, on the far side of Independence Pass east of Aspen, is also the destination for Roaring Fork Valley rafting outfitters.