GLENWOOD CANYON, Colo. (CBS4)– Search and rescue crews believe that two people who have died on the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon in the past week could have been saved if they wore personal floatation devices.

Richard Buchanan was tubing with his family July 1 when they got separated.

“The sister had scraped her leg, and lost her flip-flop so dad had hopped off the river to get her situated and Richard went on down the river in his tube,” said Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tammy McGinnis.

The boy’s mother has reportedly said the 12-year-old could swim but he wasn’t wearing a life vest.

“Bystanders did see him go under, he fell off his tube, went under, and did not re-surface,” said McGinnis.

richard irving buchanan Search & Rescue Crews Believe Floatation Devices Could Have Saved Lives

Richard Buchanan (credit: Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

Volunteers from the Garfield Search and Rescue Inc. tried to find the boy but it wasn’t until three days later he surfaced.

The other fatality the may have been prevented was a man on the water taking part in a new trend, stand-up paddle boarding.

“During the initial stages of that recovery dispatch was notified of a long boarder who had gone off his board and did not resurface,” said McGinnis.

Eagle County resident Scott Young, 52, wasn’t wearing a life vest when he went out on the water.

“Unfortunately the board got hung up and the leash stayed attached to him and he was held underwater,” said McGinnis.

Authorities have some key advice to anyone who recreates on the water.

“Do not go on the water near the water, don’t fish on the shore without a PFD,” said McGinnis.


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