Woman dies in rafting accident on Upper Colorado River
EAGLE COUNTY — On Monday, right before 4 p.m., first responders from Eagle and Grand counties responded to reports of boats and people that were pinned in the Boneyard Rapid between Yarmony and Rancho del Rio on the Upper Colorado River.
The boaters were a large private group from the Edwards area with several boats and kayaks in their group. As the group approached the Boneyard Rapid, one boat became high centered on an already abandoned raft that was pinned on a rock. As the occupants of the boat began to swim out of the rapid, one female in the group became trapped.
Emergency responders from the Eagle and Grand counties quickly arrived on scene with resources and volunteers to assist witnesses and boaters with recovery efforts. By 5 p.m., a female in her early 30s was recovered from the river and was not responsive to CPR efforts.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office wants to urgently remind the community and river enthusiasts to stay safe when playing in and near the river. Spring and summer bring warmer temperatures, snowmelt, runoff and high water in mountain streams and rivers. The dangers of high-water runoff can be fatal, as debris and river conditions change daily. It is important to be prepared, alert and familiar with proper safety equipment and how to rescue yourself and others when recreating in high-water areas.
WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
Along with high-water concerns, boaters can often be separated from their boats and swept downstream. While rescue efforts are focused on the life of a boater, often an unoccupied boat that continues to float downstream can create a scare to the community and first responders.
If a boater’s life is in danger, then call 911 immediately and do not put another’s life at risk to rescue when first responders are trained and equipped for these incidents. If an unoccupied boat or kayak is swept downstream and not recovered immediately, then call the Vail Public Safety Communications Center at the non-emergent number, 970-479-2200. Report the boat description, name and phone number so the boat can be easily identified and returned to its owner, if retrieved.
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Don’t freak out if you see helicopters hovering over the Roaring Fork Valley backcountry or fixed-wing aircraft making repeated trips. It is part an annual wildlife study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.