Rafter dies in Eagle River accident; Boulder kayaker feared dead | SummitDaily.com
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Rafter dies in Eagle River accident; Boulder kayaker feared dead

EDWARDS ” A Gypsum man rafting on the Eagle River died Saturday after his boat flipped, Eagle County sheriff’s officials said.

The 57-year-old man and another man were thrown into the water when the boat capsized sometime before 2 p.m., sheriff’s Lt. Mike McWilliam said. Both men were wearing life vests and both had several years of experience rafting, McWilliam said.

The other man swam to shore. Kayakers pulled the victim to shore and performed CPR for a half hour, McWilliam said. The kayakers and emergency personnel were unable to revive him.

“It’s just kind of a freak accident,” McWilliam said. “(The river) is near peak flow this weekend so that makes for bigger waves.”

Neither alcohol nor drugs were considered to be factors in the accident, McWilliam said.

Meanwhile, 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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