PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4/AP) – An Aurora man and his son drowned on Father’s Day during a rafting trip on the Arkansas River in Pueblo County. Officials say 46-year-old Ricardo Valencia Sanchez and his 16-year-old son, Jose Louis Valencia, were wearing life vests when they were thrown from a raft — but they got trapped in the backwash from a dam.

Police say they emergency crews responded to the area near 4 Reservoir Road and the river at around 1:24 p.m. on Sunday.

Arkansas River (credit: Facebook/Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce)

Officials say the strong currents near the dam forced them underwater for several minutes and they became entangled in a rope.

“Just that current, he was trying to swim for his life, but clearly it took him away,” said one witness. “I’m never going into these waters, that’s my advice to everyone, don’t get in these waters.”

Emergency responders pulled the raft to shore about a mile downstream. The father and son were pronounced dead at the scene. A third person in the raft survived.

There have now been at least 10 water deaths in Colorado in the last few weeks.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments
  1. “… don’t get in these waters.” — the victims didn’t die because they got in the water; they died because they went over a dam and were drowned in a hydraulic roller caused by the flow of water over the top. Just the language used to describe these incidents (such as a recent article claiming that a man drowned in Lake Estes had been “caught under [sic] a current”) or the conclusion of this witness that it’s dangerous to get in the Arkansas River at all demonstrates that Coloradans need to learn more about the water before venturing anywhere near it. We have an abysmal record on water safety and it shows — teach Coloradans how to swim and about water safety and we could cut down on these unnecessary deaths!

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