EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Five people were thrown from a private raft on the Eagle River early Thursday afternoon in the town of Eagle-Vail. One of the five rafters did not emerge from the water and was found floating behind an apartment complex in Avon, a mile and a half downriver.
Rescuers pulled the remaining rafter from the water and started CPR immediately but were unable to resuscitate the person. The victim was pronounced at a nearby hospital.
The four other rafters were able to reach shore safely.
County officials are withholding the deceased’s identity until notification of that person’s family has been completed.
County officials took the opportunity to remind whitewater recreationists that river levels in its area – like most other areas of the state – are near or at peak water flows. Accidents can have dire results in fierce water conditions no matter the expertise of the rafter or kayaker.
Safety suggestions for water enthusiasts parallel those for backcountry land users: Know the terrain ahead of time, wear safety gear (particularly life jackets and helmets), use proper equipment, wear (waterproof) identification, check the weather, and leave a plan for your day with others.
Eagle County did not provide details about the outfitting of the people in Thursday’s rafting incident.