LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The identities of a teenage boy and his uncle who died after being swept away in the Cache La Poudre River west of Fort Collins on Monday have been released.
The Larimer County coroner said the cause of the deaths of Christopher Brian Alania Canto, 14, of Greeley, and Jose Antonio Terrel-Pena, 38, was drowning. Alania also suffered a blunt force head injury.
Canto reportedly slipped and fell in the river while fishing with his uncle. Terrel-Pena jumped in and tried to save him.
Terrel-Pena was pulled from the river by good Samaritans two miles downstream from the Ouzel Campground where they had been fishing. He was taken to a hospital nearby by helicopter and he died Monday night.
Canto’s body was found by kayakers three hours later, 8 miles downstream from where he fell in.
“At one point both of them were together but the little boy was barely keeping his head above water,” said Lupe Ybarra, who was nearby when the accident happened.
Rescuers said their efforts to try to save the two people were hampered by the harsh conditions in the river and the steep conditions of Poudre Canyon.
When Colorado’s rivers run at their highest levels conditions are their most dangerous, but to some people, they’re most attractive.
“Every year about this season when Colorado comes to peak snowmelt, you get a lot of professional kayakers coming out here,” world champion competitive kayaker Jordan Poffenberger said.
Poffenberger comes to the St Vrain River in Lyons from Virginia.
“You never really know what whitewater is going to do, there’s a lot of weird under currents, can suck you down,” he said.
The whitewater that brings people like Poffenberger to Colorado can also lead to tragedy, such as Monday’s incident.
“There is always a temptation to get in; it’s a hot day and the water looks refreshing, but it’s dangerous,” said Jake Stone of Loveland, who helped pull Terrel-Pena out of the river on Monday.
Following the tragedy, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office says it discussed cutting off recreational access to the Poudre River but decided conditions do not warrant such measures. The office recommends people be cautious and make sure they only go into the water if they know what they’re doing.
“This water here is probably like intermediate or above. It’s a little bit fast for novice paddlers,” Stone said.
Creeks and rivers are running high all along the foothills and Front Range. The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office sent CBS4 a picture of a tube found in North St. Vrain Creek Tuesday morning. The office wants to know if someone could be missing in the creek. Anyone with information on a missing tuber should give them a call.