Kayaker dies after being held underwater for 18 minutes by river rapids | SummitDaily.com

Kayaker dies after being held underwater for 18 minutes by river rapids

ELDORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ” A kayaker died after being held underwater for 18 minutes Thursday while trying to traverse an expert whitewater rapid along South Boulder Creek.

The man was following another kayaker when he got caught in the churning water beneath a small waterfall. Unable to paddle out, he abandoned his boat and began swimming to shore when a strong undercurrent pulled him underwater, said Boulder County sheriff’s emergency supervisor Dave Booton.

The man, who has not been identified, was with three other kayakers when the accident occurred around 7 p.m. east of Gross Reservoir, Booton said.

“They did everything right, they had all the right protective equipment and gear,” Booton said. “They got out of their boats and checked it (the rapid) out, then two kayakers stayed on the shore with ropes as the other two went through.”

The man was underwater for about 18 minutes until four other kayakers came down the river and helped pulled him to shore. They performed CPR until emergency workers arrived, Booton said.

The man was airlifted to Boulder Community Hospital but was unconscious the entire time.

The Boulder County Coroner’s Office did not release the man’s name Thursday night pending notification of his family. Booton said the man was in his early 30s.

Booton said the river was not unseasonably strong.

“It’s normal springs runoff, the river isn’t adversely higher, so the weather didn’t have anything to do with it (the accident),” he said.

At least three other people have died this season on Colorado rivers.

Jay Levins, 51, of New York died May 22 after falling into the Arkansas River during a commercial rafting trip in Chaffee County.

Randolph Ray Lowery, 45, of Chatsworth, Ill., drowned after his raft overturned on the Colorado River east of Glenwood Springs on May 21. That same day, 29-year-old Richard Lee Trout of Denver died after falling into the Dolores River near Grand Junction while trying to save his sister’s boyfriend, who survived.

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