Searchers find body of missing teen in Roaring Fork River near Aspen |

Searchers find body of missing teen in Roaring Fork River near Aspen

Crews locate 16-year-old Kansas girl below Devils Punchbowl

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times
Search crews found the body Thursday morning of a missing teen who went into the Roaring Fork River on Wednesday near the Devils Punchbowl swimming area.
Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times

Search crews have recovered the body of a teenager from the Roaring Fork River near the Devils Punchbowl after she went into the water Wednesday and was swept downriver, officials confirmed Thursday morning.

After searching until nightfall Wednesday, crews went back out early Thursday morning to the popular swimming hole on Independence Pass east of Aspen and found her about 9:15 a.m., according to a news release from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. Her body was located about 100 yards downriver from the Punchbowl.

The girl, who officials said Thursday was a 16-year-old from Kansas and was in the area on a day trip with friends and family, was trying to cross the river just below the bowl “and was swept downstream by the strong current,” according to the news release Thursday morning from the Pitkin County Incident Command Team and Jesse Steindler, patrol captain for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Initial reports were that the victim was in her 20s and she might have jumped into the swimming hole, but that was updated Thursday.

Emergency dispatchers received a call about the incident at 4:34 p.m. Wednesday from a man who drove down the Pass to a call box at the winter closure gate to report it, Steindler said Wednesday night. He said the person was near the popular spot close to the Grottos and was swept downstream.

Searchers concentrated on an approximately one-mile stretch from the Punchbowl downriver to the bridge at the Weller Lake trailhead. A drone from the Aspen Fire Department also was used in the search.

In a news release Thursday morning, officials said “no sign of the young woman was found by nightfall, when search efforts were suspended. Limited searching was conducted after nightfall with night-vision equipment.”

Agencies that also helped in the search and mission included Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority; Aspen Ambulance District; the Aspen Hope Center; Aspen Police Department; Glenwood Springs Fire Department; Mountain Rescue Aspen; Garfield County Search and Rescue; and Carbondale Rural Fire Protection District.

The victim’s name and hometown will be released by the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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