AVON, Colo. (CBS4) – The Town of Avon is advising paddlers to use extreme caution in or around a newly-introduced riverwide Class V wave/drop at Avon Whitewater Park. The dangerous rapids are catching some people off guard.
Cellphone video shows a rafter, Adam Clouatre, fighting against the wave. He tells CBS4 he was trying to retrieve his oar, and get it back into its stand but was not able to.
“It was completely accidental. It was dumb,” he told CBS4.
His own safety team that was standing by had throw bags.
“He was in there just getting beat to death for about 15 minutes. There was no way he could get out,” said bystander Tom Johnson.
Raft guides tell CBS4 the man-made rapid feature is a “death trap” at these water levels.
“It’s basically a dam. There’s no way real safe way around it,” said Jason, a rafter who didn’t want to give his last name for fear of losing his job as a guide.
Officials are also warning boaters to avoid this feature if possible.
“Avon recently upgraded the water features located at the Avon Whitewater Park. While the modifications were designed to enable people to navigate the rapids safely, the increased water level from runoff has made navigating the currents more challenging and potentially more dangerous,” Avon officials said in a statement.
Commercial companies are avoiding the rapid all together, putting boats in just down stream.
Avon town officials are in the process of posting signs to properly warn boaters and rafters of the difficult riverwide rapids located under Avon’s Bob the Bridge.
Last week, a rafter died while on the Eagle River with four other men. Their raft hit a wave, and 29-year-old Nikolay Pezhemskiy was pulled from the water.